FIRM MARKETS STORYLINE PATENTS: Now THIS is a good one. A firm in Northern Virginia is on a marketing push for inventor submissions for storyline patents.
What's that, you say? What's a storyline patent?
Well, it doesn't exist - at least not yet, according to Andrew Knight, who runs Knight and Associates: "the first and best in storyline patents."
According to the website, due to the fierce competition for publication and financial rewards associated with quality storytelling (as opposed to the quality of the underlying storyline itself), skilled storytellers can seek potential profit from unique fictional storylines by filing patent applications instead of novels or screenplays. The company's goal (again, according to the website) is to reward the true value of his innovationsÂthe underlying storylinesÂinstead of forced, sub-par expressions of these underlying storylines. Mr. Knight has previously submitted an article to the JPTOS on this subject back in 2004 (vol. 86, no. 11). Under the legal analysis, Mr. Knight provides an exemplary claim (using the Memento storyline as an example):
A process of relaying a story having a unique plot, the story involving characters and having a timeline, comprising:
indicating that a first character has an inability to retain long-term memories after a time in the timeline;
indicating that said first character trusts notes written by said first character;
indicating that said first character believes that said first character has been wronged by a perpetrator;
indicating that said first character desires to perform an act of retribution against said perpetrator;
indicating that said first character believes that attempting to perform said act is a futile endeavor; and
indicating that said first character writes a note to said first character indicating that a second character, whom the first character believes is not the perpetrator, is the perpetrator.
I suppose this concept is possible in a metaphysical sense, and I also suppose it's conceivable to patent such things from a section 101 standpoint (although I have serious reservations - I'm not seeing the "concrete, tangible result" here). But how on earth would you claim such things to get around all the 112 issues. While the site claims that terms like "trusts", "believes", "desires" and "futile" are not ambiguous, I can't see how one can take such a position. Since you're claiming from the vantage point of the character, who would be "a person having ordinary skill in the art" for making such an interpretation - the character or the author? If my storyline has the character "suspecting" instead of "believing", do I escape infringement? Is it an equivalent? How do I determine if a claim element is enabled? How would means-plus-function be interpreted in such situations?
Interestingly, the analysis discusses embodiments of a storyline in Beauregard format as well (a "machine-readable storage medium storing information and configured to cause a machine to perform a process of relaying a story having a unique plot"). I have to confess that I'm curious to see these applications that have allegedly been filed (I couldn't find them on my first try, although I found this howler that was filed by IBM).
If anyone manages to find these applications, please forward them to me.
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