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Patent Shame Time, Again

Stefan Tilkov,

James Robertson points to an patent:

Search engine system supporting inclusion of unformatted search string after domain name portion of URL

James Wonders whether the “inventors” feel no shame at all. Predictably, people will point out to him how those poor guys probably had no choice but to agree to this. To which I say: Bullshit.

On October 24, 2007 11:56 AM, Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

Possibly bullshit, but maybe not.

On October 24, 2007 4:31 PM, Stefan Tilkov said:

I don’t think Mark agreed. He hated it, tried to resist it, was pressed into doing it, and ultimately quit. He even wrote about it.

Which earns him about as much respect as any one person is ever going to get from me (in matters this worldly, that is).

On October 25, 2007 8:31 AM, Aristotle Pagaltzis said:

Well – Mark was indeed a poor guy and did indeed have no choice. That’s no bullshit. (You will also find that Mark quit for other reasons, not because he had to file the patent; although I imagine that incident provided additional motivation.)

And it’s not inconceivable that these guys really did had no choice in the matter. It’s probably bullshit, however, that they are poor guys: I doubt that they tried to resist the way Mark did. That’s not what I’m disputing. They should certainly be ashamed, whether or not they had any choice – as Mark is.

I’m arguing a fine point, I know. We agree about much more than we disagree about. But as my ancient namesake said:

To be mad at someone – that is easy. To be mad at the right person, for the right reason, at the right time and at the right degree – that is not easy.