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Storyline and fashion patents
Film, literature, and fashion are examples of innovative fields where ideas cannot be patented. (Another article descibes how software innovation also happens without patents.)
The complete lack of patents for storylines and the centuries of innovation in story writing provide proof that patents are not necessary for innovation or investment of effort. Patents are not "necessary" for innovation at all, as innovation was present long before, and in the absence of, state enforced patent monopolies. However, another question is whether patents might increase the level of innovation.
There is little or no research on the topic of storylines, patents, and innovation, but for software there are long lists of studies showing that software patents reduce innovation.
In the USA
The USPTO is currently reviewing four patent applications claiming fictional storylines. (to check: See Ben D. Manevitz "What's the Story with Storyline Patents - An Argument Against the Allowance of Proposed Storyline Patents and for the Rejection of Currently Pending Storyline Patent Applications" (2006) 24 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 717.)
Relation to Software
Many of the reasons why storylines should not be patentable apply to software inventions, as it too is a form of writing.
Fashion is another example. Here are some articles that explore this topic:
- Control of creativity? Fashion's secret
- More Research Shows How The Fashion Industry Is Helped By The Lack Of Intellectual Property Rights
- The Coming Software Patent Apocalypse (the first part is about another topic)
- Lessons from fashion's free culture, this video talks about copyright but might apply to patents too
Related pages on en.swpat.org
- A Potentially New IP: Storyline Patents, a 2004 article by patent lawyer Andrew Knight
- Somewhat related: Film sued for showing use of a patented idea ("Knowing" - a fiction, staring Nicholas Cage)
- Software Patents and Literary Patents by Richard Stallman
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