All that is wrong about (software) patents


In the Constitution of the United States of America, we find the following statement that calls upon the Congress of the United States to be granted the power to:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries

When I read this article this morning in Crain's Cleveland.com I almost lost my breakfast (thankfully, I hadn't eaten it yet).

A small (4 person) company (Test Central, Inc.) in Ohio has been granted a patent on online testing.

What is most appaling about this company is that if you read the article, they filed for the patent in February 1999 (I'm sure there is prior art) and seem to have done so for the express purpose of licensing the patent to somebody larger and with more resources to use it to gain a monopoly in the testing industry online. To wit, the president of the company said, "We?re trying to find an organization that will get the most benefit out of (the patent). They would be able to close the door on their competitors."

Excuse me, what part of promoting the progress of science is this?