Monday, November 07, 2005

Patenting movies?

As if the patenting of software was not enough of a nightmare, the next step could be the patenting of movies. You would be wise to be sceptical of this claim, who in their right mind would think of patenting movies? Behold U.S. patent application 2005/0244804, an application for the " Process of relaying a story having a unique plot". I kid you not. The abstract says:

A process of relaying a story having a timeline and a unique plot involving characters comprises: indicating a character's desire at a first time in the timeline for at least one of the following: a) to remain asleep or unconscious until a particular event occurs; and b) to forget or be substantially unable to recall substantially all events during the time period from the first time until a particular event occurs; indicating the character's substantial inability at a time after the occurrence of the particular event to recall substantially all events during the time period from the first time to the occurrence of the particular event; and indicating that during the time period the character was an active participant in a plurality of events.
Unless I am mistaken, this is a patent application for some sort of plot involving memory loss and events occurring during said amnesia. Wow, I had never heard that before! Could I offer Memento as prior art?

Anyway, this represents something more serious, and is the fact that many patent lawyers in the United States do really believe that there's nothing wrong with trying to patent a movie plot. I can imagine a time when movie-makers are afraid that their plots may be infringing, with patent trolls accumulating movie patents to sue the largest movie blockbusters.

1 comment:

Robert Plotkin said...

I believe that the patent application you described was filed by a patent attorney in the U.S. whose entire business is based on filing these so-called "plot patents." See his web site at http://www.plotpatents.com/. He has written at least one academic article providing his justification for these patents. I do not believe that any of his patent applications have yet been issued as patents.