Recent moves by intellectual property holdings outfits like Acacia Research have sparked a patent land grabbing epidemic that has threatened to accelerate the extinction of all life on earth unless the charter of the Kyoto Treaty is expanded to include other, more pressing matters that threaten the Earth's ecosytem.
Exclaiming "If that five-year old punk in Minnesota can patent swinging sideways, then why can't I patent the color red?!", the normally color blind Steve Gillmor ran to the United States Patent and Trademark Office after he realized he could probably patent the strange pigment creeping up his neck. Apparently his blood pressure responded adversely to something he read in the blogosphere. Pointing to a throbbing jugular surrounded by glowing red skin, Gillmor told a 67 year-old patent examiner who hasn't left his office since the 1970s that he conducted a thorough prior art search on the color red, but came up empty handed. The examiner momentarily extracted his head from some sand, handed Gillmor a used Dunkin Donuts-branded napkin and instructed Gillmor to describe the invention in ten words or less, but only after pre-applying a USPTO seal of approval to the napkin.
At first, Gillmor indicated that he would make an implementation of the color (including the word "red") available under his self-authored, and newly Open Source Iiniative-approved Gillmor Public License -- one that followed the CDDL's lead by practically requiring a patent grant.<sidebar> On charges that he had violated the informally installed nuclear open source license non-proliferation treaty, OSI acting president Michael Tiemann was tarred, feathered, and forced to podcast (from a prison cell on Alcatraz) every End User License Agreement (EULA) ever published by Microsoft </sidebar>. After the Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman discovered the misappropriation of the legendary "GPL" acronym, a nastygram threatening legal action from FSF general counsel Eben Moglen pushed the red color past Gillmor's chin and right up to his brow at which point he published an unprepared, two word podcast (accompanied by certain unknown sound effects from an unidentified source who was apparently present at the time of the recording). Forgetting for a minute whether we'd even publish any profanity, a transcription of that podcast can't be offered here because we're pretty sure that re-using just one of the two words would constitute usage of 50 percent of the material -- well beyond the legal threshold of fair use that isn't documented anywhere anyway. But, we're double-checking with our lawyers to see if the hang time of the "sound effect" could legally make it possible to use one or both words without encroaching on the ever-evasive fair usage threshold.
With no intention of making his inventions or words available to the world on any sort of reasonable terms, Gillmor did a 180 in retaliation and made all of his intellectual property available under RAND and All Rights Reserved (copyright) terms. Executives at bedfellows Sun and Microsoft breathed a huge sigh of relief when they realized that neither company flies red in its colors. Attempting to comment on the situation however, for the first time in history, Sun COO Jonathan Schwartz opened his mouth but nothing came out. Schwartz, who as of late, favors defensive use of patents over offensive use saw in the Gillmor move the potential to finish off Red Hat -- an arch enemy of both Sun and Microsoft -- and was too conflicted to unsheath his normally sharp witted tongue. While investors who've been shorting Red Hat shouted with glee, the rest of the financial community expects to go into triage after Red Hat and others who can't afford to pay Gillmor (including Crayola crayon maker Binney & Smith) start their bankruptcy proceedings.
Said Stephen O'Grady, analyst for JustPlainMonk, "Now that red is a hot potato, we expect other colors to follow suit which is why we deliberately didn't rename our company BlueMonk or GreenMonk. We have to eat our own dog food." Via pigeon carrier (SMTP is off the market too), O'Grady's partner James Governor told me that "It's our understanding that what was started by Gillmor has been finished by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold and his company Intellectual Ventures who acquired the rest of frequencies known to man." In a prepared statement issued from exile in an undisclosed location, Kermit the Frog said "Miss Piggy and I will not go down without a fight. No one is going to get our skins!" Meanwhile, scientists from around the world were much more pragmatic about the potential consequences. Said Professor Stephen Hawking, "The entire global food chain is dependent on color. This is probably the end of the world as we know it." From the G1 conference in Washington, DC, United States President George Bush reiterated that he would fire anyone known to have worked in the USPTO office and to have committed a crime.
Get the picture?