Monday, October 23, 2006

Let the deep pocket fix it!

You know how it is when some stupid law is passed, and you look around in hopes of finding some group that's wounded enough, or rich enough, to try to fix it? Well time may have come for our stupid expansion of the patent system. We have far-too-basic software patents, and now we even have patents of "business methods." A few years ago somebody decided that methods of filing taxes are business methods, and some of them have been patented. So we now have a ridiculous situation that will affect many of the richest and greediest US cits. Maybe they'll pull a few lobbyists out of their pockets to make some law changes about patents.

Patenting methods of filing taxes means that you might come up with a neat, legal tax shelter. But a few years later, someone with a patent on creating that tax shelter sues you for all your money gains. Or they might even sue to force you to stop using your tax shelter.

Some overly simple examples illustrate how silly this can be:

  • Shortly after the income tax system becomes law, somebody patents the idea of declaring dependants for a deduction. Now the US law INTENDED to give everyone this benefit, but instead it would be controlled at the whim of the patent holder.

  • Someone with a patent on saving taxes by setting up a 401-K forces you to break your 401-k and withdraw your money. They don't care if that will increase your tax liability. They just don't feel like licensing the right to use a 401-k, to you.


Hey, Rich People: Go stop those "business method" patents!
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