Sunday, September 26, 2004

Patent your swagger or Dirty Harry look

Vivius, Inc., based in Minneapolis, is a most recent example of companies rushing to patent their unique methods of doing business, thus creating impenetrable walls to hide ideas that should be tested and debated openly in the public. The company, according to Business Wire, calls itself “the architect of a core technology and innovative transaction model that allows consumers to calculate a unique insurance premium for each participating family member, based on their individual preferences and choices of co-payment levels and providers.” The company offers its Internet-based model “to consumers through insurance carriers under a turnkey private-labeling agreement.” Once you call something a business method or a technology, you could ask for a patent. Even one’s swagger or a Dirty Harry look could be called a business method and be patented. But what is this thing called “turnkey private-labeling agreement”?

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