Patent a Storyline


Intellectual property madness rages onward to unprecedented levels....Tom Peters' News Wire and Joho the Blog comment on the first ever published patent application to protect a storytelling formula.

The patent has been published, but not yet approved. From eMediaWire:

Before a patent will issue, however, the application must overcome the hurdles of utility, novelty, and nonobviousness found in U.S. patent laws. According to Knight, the utility requirement addresses whether an invention falls within statutory subject matter, while novelty and nonobviousness address whether the invention is identical to or impermissibly similar to previous inventions. That fictional storylines may be patentable was first suggested in a November, 2004 article in the Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society, “A Potentially New IP: Storyline Patents.” The article argues that binding case law strongly suggests that methods of performing and displaying fictional plots, whether found in motion pictures, novels, television shows, or commercials, are statutory subject matter, like computer software and business methods.

For more, check out

This could open a whole new can of worms. For instance, does this introduce the possibility of patenting methods in which content is scraped and re-formulated?



This whole thing stinks of a publicity stunt. I don't think the guy is serious. Either he's trying to prove a point about patents, or he's got something else he's trying to publicize (maybe he really is trying to sign a movie deal). I don't think he's serious about getting the patent. Everyone seems to be falling for it, but it's gotta be a stunt of some sort.

INteresting, I do believe

INteresting, I do believe that even if he is not serious, someone else will be soon.

Prior Art

As noted in Joho's comments, Washington Irving was already on that plot a long time ago, with Rip Van Winkle. Nice try though.

If you want storylines scraped from content, try this one on. I believe the authors have done some previous work in this field, too:

System for identifying storylines that emegre from highly ranked web search results

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