It appears Philips Corporation has gone public about how they misuse the patent system. Too bad others are not so forthcoming.
Darknet points out an amazing story by Randell Stross in this weekend's NY Times. Darknet is amazed by the stupidity of the idea that a corporation like Philips would apply for a patent on a system to prevent users from changing the channels on their TVs during commercials. I agree this is one of the most unlikely-to-succeed ideas I've heard of, but what struck me was this discussion with a Philips spokesperson:
When I spoke last week with Ruud Peters, the executive in charge of intellectual property at Philips, to learn how it would be pitched to consumers, he explained that the patent application had no connection to any Philips products in the pipeline. And, he explained, the notion of temporarily crippling the remote control to protect advertising is already out there and did not originate with his company.
Patents are only available for ideas that are not obvious and patents are only granted to the person who originally thought up the idea. Why is Philips applying for a patent on an idea that is "already out there and did not originate with <Philips>"?