I think it is only fair to help those people who haven't jumped onto the bandwagon of destroying the world through intellectual property, by notifying them about the opportunities they have been missing.
Who doesn't want to make lots of money by patenting an obvious idea and then sitting back and raking in the money while watching the world decay into a legal morass, when the world governments are willing support you? As we bury the original idea for copyrights and patents - encouraging publishing and development - and promote the new one - discouraging publishing and development - here are some untapped areas that are just begging for IP fights:
How about EULAs? Did you spend a lot of time writing a nifty new EULA, such as one that requires the user to erase all of his music from his desktop if he loses the CD (wasn't that the entire purpose of making a backup in the first place)? Copyright it! In fact, don't stop there - patent every clause. Surely no one else would have thought of adding those clauses to an EULA. Why let them - unless they pay you a fee?
While we're at it, why not all legal agreements? Why let other companies steal your nifty legalese? You worked hard and paid a lot of money for it. No one else should be allowed to hire people, rent houses, or merge companies using the same terms you used in your contract! Or derivatives, thereof.
In fact, let's go even further. We all know that government documents are not copyrightable, but that doesn't mean the government can copy your documents, does it? It's only a one way street. If you have passed laws in your company or community that prove to be effective, don't let the government pass the same laws without paying up. Patent them!
You can even do it before the laws come into effect. Are you a political party, tired of seeing others adopt your political platforms and then do better in the polls? Well, don't you deserve the right to control your own agenda and proposals? Patent these, too. Your solutions to health care and balancing the budget can then be yours forever; and you can refuse to let anyone use them unless you get elected! Victory!
What goes for political platforms goes for religion. The Protestant movement could never have been founded if only the Catholic church had patented "worship of the divine being as mentioned in the bible". It certainly was non-obvious when it first started. You could also bring up a host of serious trademark issues: do you want those people claiming to speak in the name of your religion?
On a more local level, if you're a pulpit priest, why not patent your sermons? If you come up with a nifty way of linking two stories or presenting the word of God, don't let all those wannabes steal your ideas! Make them come to your church to hear it.
Naming your child something unusual, even if it is just an unusual first/middle name combination? Trademark that, too! As a bonus, this will save your child from any mistaken identity issues in the future.
But don't stop there: have you found an effective means of raising your children? Patent it! I'm pretty sure you won't find any prior art for it, and you want your kids to have every advantage they can, right?
Think of the disciplines that still don't use IP to protect their rights:
Restaurants: Everyone else is stealing your recipes! Patent them! Don't let people eat your food and then make it in their own kitchen. That "discourages your incentive to publish"!
Architecture: Oops, too late for that.
Newscasters: Do you present global news, local news, weather, and local interest stories, in that order? That sounds creative. Better patent that, too, before someone else uses the formula. Don't forget to trademark your fancy phrases, like "Good evening, and drive safely". If you don't we may not be able to distinguish between you and some other channel's news service.
Novelists - Oops, too late for that.
Banking, Offices, Phone companies, and so on: Got a special way of giving good service? Patent that, too! We wouldn't want others to have good service; they may compete! Oh wait, Walmart already does that, too.
Teachers: curriculum, teaching hours, office hours, coffee breaks ... you name it! Patent the lot of it.
We're only getting started. Why not patent war? Got a good military strategy? Don't let other countries go and use it for their own gains. Patent it, and then haul 'em into court. Why should anyone else be able to kill lots of people as easily as you can? Heck, if we patent "going to war for a specific reason", we may end up saving a lot of lives.
How about love? You want that moment to be special? Keep it that way for your natural lifespan, plus seventy years.
Politics. Religion. Why not sex? Got a new position that works for your? Patent it! Just make sure to investigate if there is any prior art.
Death! Don't let anyone just up and die the way you want to! Or did! You want some hack stealing your final thunder after you're gone? Don't wait until it's too late: bring out the patents!
Yehuda (TM, copyright, patent pending, and so forth (actually, creative commons))
Technorati tags: Patent, Copyright, Intellectual Property