Friday, August 19, 2005

Patently Absurd Patents

Patent Reform Legislation in Congress Amounts to Little More Than a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card for Microsoft

By Robert X. Cringely

Late last month, shortly before the U.S. Congress shut down for its summer recess, the Senate Judiciary Committee's Intellectual Property subcommittee held an unusual hearing -- unusual because the only committee member attending the hearing was the chairman, Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah. Why would such a prestigious committee hold a hearing in Washington attended by only one member? To slam through some controversial legislation, of course. Senator Hatch was trying to pass a new law "reforming" the U.S. patent system and apparently felt it would all go much more smoothly without the presence of the other committee members. And it might have gone smoothly, except someone in the press noticed the unusual hearing and decided to attend, essentially scotching the intended markup of the bill a week later and passage just as an unwary Congress was heading home.

Lord save us from patent reform.


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