Yes, over sixty patents have been issued for “tax planning methods.” You discover (or contrive?) a loophole, then patent its use. Subsequent taxpayers (or tax avoiders) who might happen on the same idea are obligated to contact you and arrange to license your innovation. This is not what the Framers had in mind when they empowered Congress
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
Cong. Rick Boucher introduced a bill a couple of years ago to limit the benefits patent holders could obtain for such patents (summarized here(doc) with full text here(pdf)). A message today from Vaughn Henry implies that this has been reintroduced.
NASA has engaged a Chicago company, Ocean Tomo, to auction off “a suite of 25 patents.” This is considered to be transferring technology to the private sector. I guess an auction is better than sleazy private deals. The main point to remember is that a patent is not the right to use an invention, it is only the right to prevent others from doing so. (via slashdot)
- First, you heat limestone to a very high temperature, until it breaks down into lime and carbon dioxide.
- Then you put the lime into the sea, where it reacts with carbon dioxide dissolved in the seawater.
- The second step absorbs twice as much CO2 as the first releases, the released CO2 has industrial uses, and the heating can be done with “free” energy.
So says Cquestrate founder Tim Kruger. He says it works in theory, but needs to be demonstrated as practical. Most intriguing, he’s doing it as open source, so it will be free of patents and anyone can try it.
According to the site, Kruger is a management consultant, so it’s not hard to see how he could benefit from this innovation even without IP “rights.”
Thanks to the Undercover Economist.