Seldom can any good news be found in a bill with the word reform in the title but alas I’ve found some. Among clauses that will bail out fraudsters there is one decent point in the recent America Invents Act that disallow patents on methods to keep what is rightfully yours:
Under a provision in the far-reaching patent reform bill, it’s no longer possible to get a patent on a strategy for reducing, avoiding or postponing taxes. (See Section 14 of the law, which downloads here as a pdf.) By the time the bill, known as the America Invents Act, was signed into law, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had issued more than 161 tax patents, and another 167 tax patent applications were pending.
The patent system in this country is completely broken and the American Invents Act does nothing to fix the real problems but it’s nice to see a company can no longer sue you for violating a patent on using the complex tax code to your advantage. I know the reason this was slipped into the bill is because the government wants to discourage the practice of using the tax code to your advantage but this may backfire on them. Now when a clever accountant finds a point in the tax code overlooked by the revenuers he can’t file a patent and claim exclusive rights over the practice. This is good news as it may allow more people and companies to avoid a little bit of the theft perpetrated by the government.