STORYLINE PATENT PUBLISHED IN USPTO: As was reported previously on this blog, a utility patent application was filed by Andrew Knight in November, 2003, claiming to be the first application to claim a fictional storyline. There was an initial buzz regarding this patent application, due to the apparent effort to extend patent protection to the liberal arts. However, there was limited information that was available to the public at the time, due to the fact that none of the patents were published yet.
That has now changed.
US Publication 20050244804, titled "Process of relaying a story having a unique plot" is now available for viewing by the general public. The U.S. Patent Office will publish subsequent storyline patent applications, also invented by Knight, on November 17 and December 8 and 22. Claim 1 of the '804 publication recites the following:
1. A process of relaying a story having a timeline and a unique plot involving characters, comprising:
indicating a character's desire at a first time in said 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 said first time until a particular event occurs;
indicating said character's substantial inability at a time after said occurrence of said particular event to recall substantially all events during the time period from said first time to said occurrence of said particular event; and
indicating that during said time period said character was an active
participant in a plurality of events.
Sounds a lot like Memento to me. Nevertheless, the case has not had an examination on the merits yet (it was docketed on 10/6 to art unit 3715). The USPTO has assigned the application to class 434, subclass 365, which deals with education and demonstration, and particularly with "Means for Demonstrating Apparatus, Product, or Surface Configuration, or for Displaying Educational Material or Student's Work."
Mr. Knight is staking a lot on these patents, and decided to issue a press release on the publication, and also reminded Hollywood that he was asserting his provisional patent rights (even though they are presumed at the time of publication):
Knight, a rocket engine inventor, registered patent agent, and graduate of MIT and Georgetown Law, will assert publication-based provisional patent rights against anyone whose activities may fall within the scope of his published claims, including all major motion picture manufacturers and distributors, book publishers and distributors, television studios and broadcasters, and movie theaters. According to the official Patent Office website, provisional rights “provide a patentee with the opportunity to obtain a reasonable royalty from a third party that infringes a published application claim provided actual notice is given to the third party by [the] applicant, and a patent issues from the application with a substantially identical claim.”
Let the fun begin . . .
UPDATE: More commentary about the storyline patent on Jackson Lenford's Right to Create Blog