The USPTO awarded Patent 8,609,158 last December for a mix of "evening primrose oil, rice, sesame seeds, green beans, coffee, meat, cheese, milk, green tea extract, evening primrose seeds, and wine" that "rebukes cancer, cancer cells, and kills cancer" -- the accompanying extract states, "it works." Sounds legit.
This patent’s most obvious flaw is lack of utility – there’s no proof that the invention works. But the system places the burden of proof on the Patent Office, not the person asking for a 20 year monopoly. The examiner likely decided a rejection was not worth the effort – frankly, we wonder whether the examiner even read the application. In a similar case, the Patent Office issued a patent to an applicant whose work was widely known to be fraudulent. (The purported inventor had even spent time in jail for the fraud.) As Professor James Grimmelmann observed at the time: “The USPTO is an armory handing out legal howitzers on the honor system. What could possibly go wrong?”
Magical Drug Wins EFF’s Stupid Patent of the Month
Ten years ago, Apple released the Ipad. I was in a hotel room in Seattle, jetlagged and awake at 4AM while my wife and daughter slept.
Last year, the EU adopted the incredibly controversial Copyright Directive (it passed by only five votes, and afterwards 10 MEPs said they'd got confused and pushed the wrong buttons!): now, EU member states have to create rules that require online platforms to filter all user-generated content and block it if it matches a secret, unaccountable […]
Back in 2017, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) approved the most controversial standard in its long history: Encrypted Media Extensions, or EME, which enabled Netflix and other big media companies to use DRM despite changes to browsers extensions that eliminated the kinds of deep hooks that DRM requires.
Twitter rants and various online ugliness aside, social media has actually grown up a bit over the past 15 years. In general, users are warier of their interactions on platforms like Facebook or Instagram — and marketers have taken note. In fact, if you felt retailers you saw on social media were only looking to […]
Virus quarantines and shuttered restaurants sent millions of Americans back to their homes, only to rediscover the joys of firing up an oven and cooking something special for themselves. Whether by desire, necessity, or both, many of us have certainly been spending more time in the kitchen these last few months. And we haven’t just […]
Now that the world is starting to re-emerge from its self-imposed COVID-19 quarantine, we’re all going to have to start making some adjustments to both short-term and long-term changes. And the questions… Should customers be hounded out of a store if they aren’t wearing a face mask? Are crocheted face masks safe or not? And […]