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Box Office Patents

Forbes: Box Office Patents.

It’s the kind of plot twist that will send some critics screaming into the aisles: Why not let writers patent their screenplay ideas? The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office already approves patents for software, business methods — remember’s patent on ‘one-click’ Internet orders? — even role-playing games. So why not let writers patent the intricate plot of the next cyberthriller?

So in other words, a law grad called Andrew Knight actually wants to see the world RMS described in his ‘Patent Absurdity’ article for the Guardian, where Les Miserables was unpublishable due to patent infringement. Incredible.

He himself plays the classic lines, familiar to those who followed the EU software patenting debate:

Knight agrees, up to a point. He won’t reveal the exact details of the plots he’s submitted to the Patent Office, other than to say they involve cyberspace. And he says patents would apply only to ideas that are unique and complex. But he worries that without patent protection, some Hollywood sharpies could change ideas like his around and pass them off as their own.

”I’m trying to address a person who comes up with a brand-new form of entertainment who may not be a Poe, may not be a Shakespeare, but still deserves to be paid for his work,” Knight says. ”Otherwise, who will create anything?”

A perfect pro-patent hat trick!