The latest episode of the popular radio show This American Life discusses some of the current challenges facing prospective inventors of novel ideas and how the US Patent System is being gamed by patent trolls. Most American reefers are well aware of a patent in the way of progressing reef aquarium lighting using light emitting diodes (LEDs). Once upon a time the USPTO was conceived to help stimulate innovation, inventions and overall competitiveness by protecting real novel ideas.
This is not the case today where the USPTO seems to be granting absurd patents for ‘thermal refreshening of bread’ (toast) and other stupid ideas like the obvious one to put efficient LED lights over aquariums, even though there existed plenty of prior art. Although the LED patent hasn’t caused much trouble in the aquarium world for most of the last two years, we haven’t yet heard the latest of Orbitec and the patent it was granted to ‘use a fan’ to cool aquarium LEDs and to attach the light to the aquarium itself.
‘When Patents Attack‘ produced by This American Life is available to stream or to download as a podcast.