Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Patents (HBO)

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Patents (HBO)

Mirror for people outside the US.

I was very excited when the segment started. By the time it ended I was rather underwhelmed, especially considering how well he covered net neutrality and Edward Snowden.

This is a huge topic and definitely one that resonates with his target demographic. I wish he dove a little deeper, may be dug up some ridiculous real life examples of patent trolling and ridiculous software patents like these and these. He mentioned the bill is coming around again and I wish he elaborate more on that. Plus I thought Newegg and friends deserved a mention.

I got my pitchfork ready but all I got was a lousy Martin Sheen video :(

This is why Newegg will always have me as a loyal customer

His raccoon was pretty good.

As for the slide to unlock, don't forget the part where apple tried to include "tap to unlock" since "a tap is a zero-length swipe" and Apple owns the swipe-to-unlock patent.

As far as you know.

That's like saying a point and a line are the same thing.

Copyright still exists. Half-Life 3 would be copyright protected, but no one can claim a patent on ego-shooters.

If you want to get a cat drawn for you here's the website of they guy they had on SharkTank.

I feel like he was trying a little too hard to make this funny. Most of his "impressions" were just yawn worthy in this bit.

"Yes, I have a patent on any n-dimensional hypersphere, so technically everyone, including cross-dimensional beings, violates my patent"

About two years ago a law was passed which exempts software from patentability in New Zealand.

I don't think he does it anymore. Here's an AMA he did a few months ago.

This American Life also did a great few episodes solely on the dark side of patents

In the last few episodes, I've felt like he is trying to force a joke in after every minute.

This one seemed phoned in, the Texas thing was great but he should have dug deeper. Patent trolls ant the only ones taking advantages, big companies also use it to keep competition out. He should have dug into that too.

Half-Life 3 isn't an invention though, it's a product that can be copyrighted, but that's it.

John Oliver had me sympathize with Samsung. Bravo!

That's not a great analogy. Patents are granted for one, and only one, reason: To get the technical details of inventions in the public domain. There would be no point otherwise.

Let me re-iterate: Patents do not exist do bring revenue to inventors, they exist as an incentive for inventors to divulge the technical details of their inventions.

When a company buys up a patent that is vague enough to be useful to them with no intention of developing that concept there is no reciprocal payoff to society. Sure, an inventor may get paid for inventing something, but that is not the function of patents.

Society has no interest in paying me for inventing a machine that replaces all the water in my tap with more water in a 1:1 ratio. It is an intrinsically useless thing. But if I manage to get such a patent passed, then I can sue people for using pipes. There is no social benefit here.

These are the sort of patents that the trolls are interested in, not the sort of ones that needs to be nurtured and developed into a useful product. Only once such a useful product is made does society become interested in how it is made, so knowledge is not lost.

Patent trolls are not, by their nature, interested in reasonable patents.

May the lord bless your soul.

Patents literally and explicitly exist so that a creator can be the sole profiter of their creation lest they come to an agreement with an outside entity. The U.S. government would never formally endorse the creation of monopolies.

I feel that way about most of his jokes, actually. He'll make a comparison and it'll be funny, then goes on to do impressions, trying to explain to you WHY it's supposed to be funny. I'd rather he just tell the joke and move on.

football is not patented. NFL may have copyrights over their own league but they don't own football. AFL doesn't pay royalties to the NFL. You have no idea what you're talking about.

The problem with no software patents is that some software SHOULD be patented.

There is a difference between "Program that detects fingers on a screen" vs "Half Life 3"

Adam Carolla, from the man show, is (was? haven't listened to his podcast in a while) being sued by a patent troll, saying that they have the patent on podcasts. He was fighting them for a long time, they were trying to get the case in Texas, while he was fighting to have it in California. It was interesting to follow.

The jokes are just a way to hold people's attention.