The best stories from April Fool’s Day
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The best stories from April Fool’s Day

Apple to protect a rectangle and EU agrees patent court venue? It must be April 1

A cynic might say that it is difficult to know which is more far-fetched: that members of the European Union have agreed where to site the EU patent court or that they're chosen a tiny would-be independent country called Sealand off the English coast.

Yesterday anti-software patent group FFII claimed an exclusive, revealing that patent judges would be flown in by helicopter for court proceedings and quoting a Munich-based patent attorney.

Georg Friedrich Reichmann apparently told the group that Sealand was the perfect location. "Since the patent system is a very special part of law, it should have its own court clearly detached from the law of the Member States. It is the final victory for the patent community to achieve independence – we have been trying to achieve that for more than 50 years."

Meanwhile, The Register brought news of a new weapon in Apple's patent arsenal: USPTO Patent #1,042,012, first granted to the American Mathematical Society in October 1912, subsequently renewed, then acquired by Apple at an unknown date.

The first entry among the patent's claims describes "A quadrilateral having all four interior angles of 90°, opposite sides that are parallel, and congruent diagonals that bisect each other."

The Register quotes Apple's legal counsel: "When we sued Samsung in April of last year, one of our assertions was that that company had modified its original design to include 'square icons with rounded corners' that were copied directly from our iOS icons. How much of a legal leap is it from the assertion of owning squares with rounded corners to asserting that we own the rectangle?"

Finally, the American Libraries' Association apparently published a speech given by a former senator to the 4th Annual Restore Intellectual Property Protection for Economic Recovery (RIPPER) Summit and Retreat entitled 'Let's put an end to socialized intellectual property'.

In it, Douglas Maynard rails against a system of IP in which works languish, economically inactive, in the public domain and welcomes RIPPER's proposals for them to be auctioned off and the proceeds used to extend tax breaks to the American people.

"Children's tales are just the tip of the potential income iceberg. Imagine how much an individual or organization might pay for the exclusive, permanent rights to, say, William Shakespeare's Hamlet? Beethoven's Fifth Symphony? The Gospels of the New Testament? To the millions of documents produced by the government of the United States of America?"

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