Can you own a word.
Well, according to the american patent office, you can. Its the most bizarro system I have ever seen , but it does exist. The original idea of patenting was to protect inventors from having their ideas stolen by others. But it has , thanks to a lowlife breed of patent layers, degraded into a parody of that original concept. Where once it was a proud institution to protect those who shone the light of progress into the future, it now is rapidly becoming a stuck hand-brake on the chariot of progress, with evil layers sucking up the fumes of the burning asbestos.
Because patenting is no longer about original idea's, its about going to court, getting a patent approved for the most ridicules thing and then suing everybody in a 300 mile radius if only they dare to THINK about your patent. And why ? As a source of income of course. Now if all of this was just to keep legal departments occupied, we would just give both parties sticks with pointy nails and tell them to get it over with. But patenting (in its sick and twisted form) is slowing down progress. Cause not only can you patent products, you can also patent idea's, concepts, even WORDS.
Apple tried to sue several company's a few months ago for the use of POD in their company name. Podcastready.com felt the burn, Ipodder had to switch its name and suddenly PODcasters where getting nervous. What if apple started sending around cease and desist letters to all of us too. Some thought to duck the bullet by changing the term Podcast to Netcast ( I think thats a lame word btw ) but they had good reason. Cause in the whole system you don"t HAVE to be right. Its just a matter who has the most layers, the most money, and the time and balls to fight it out in court. Who cares if the judge rules in your favor after you've sold your house to pay your legal fees.
So the question remained : Can you own a word ? Dave Gray decided not to wait for an answer. With the "pod-patent" in limbo he took some balsy action and wrote to Steve Jobs, sending him a letter in which he explained he would like to continue to use the word "podcast" and included a cheque of one dollar to cover those expenses. Now writing to Apple is like writing to santa. Sure he gets your mail .. but he never writes back… Or does he ?
The kid that got the letter back from Santa.
Surprise surprise when yesterday a letter popped into the mailbox from Apple where they sent him back his money and stated IN WRITING that they would not sue over the term PODCASTING. A ripple of rumor vaulted through cyberspace as the news was noted. This might have big repercussions for future court-cases and to the shows of many pod-casters who feature the word "podcast". Can we rest easy now ? I do not now, there are always legal loopholes in loopholes in loopholes, but the core of the story is : No matter who you are, where you live or what you do . It are those with the guts to be bold that get the rewards of the few.