More patent/copyright insanity

I really continue to be amazed by the little steps of insanity we are making in our capitalist interest. I recently found out that DC and Marvel hold a joint claim to the phrase “super-hero”. That’s right: the combination of the words “super” and “hero”, perfectly innocuous on their own, is a trademark. And the people that own it are enforcing it! They actually forced a small comic book publisher to rename their comic “Super Hero Happy Hour”.

And does our insanity end there? No. Now apparently you can patent the association of concepts. Just thinking in a certain way about related concepts might cost you royalty fees. And this particular example involves a likely diagnostic path. Can you imagine being a doctor and thinking, “Hey, this guy has low x levels, I should check on his y levels. Damnit! Now I have to send JerkCo $5 for that thought.”?

In the US we continue to find ways to ship actual jobs out of country (not including highly-skilled jobs like mine) and end up doing less and less here. Soon, we’ll just be a nation of lawyers suing each other and passing a stagnant quantity of wealth back and forth. People are getting laid off, companies don’t create they just protect their intellectual property, and nobody is keeping their books honestly. Where the hell are we headed here?

Follow-up: A nice little OpEd piece over at NYT shines a little light on “patent trolls”, another wrinkle in this mess.