AOL patent IM

AOL patented Instant Messaging. In 1997. It is hence painfully obvious that the US Patent Office either isn’t concerned with prior art, or lacks anybody with any knowledge of computer systems before 1997. I’m not sure which is more depressing.

Just when you thought trademark case law couldn’t get any stupider

The person who registered sex.biz has had the domain taken away from him, on the grounds that someone had registered the word “sex” as a trademark for use on refrigerator magnets. Wait, you say… isn’t “sex” just a generic word for, well, sex? You’d think so, but according to the US Patent Office “there is a distinctive, unique or secondary meaning” to the word which makes it trademarkable.