Chapter 69: Monkey Handler vs. Patent Examiner

Monkeys seek out bananas because they are nutritious and help them remain big and strong to fight other monkeys. As a monkey handler, my job is to make sure monkeys don’t take more bananas than they are entitled to from the box containing bananas. A monkey will come up, and judging by the size of the monkey, I will let him take anywhere between one and a dozen bananas. Sometimes the monkey will claim he has a high metabolism, and deserves more than I originally intended to give him. We argue, eventually he gets some bananas, and all is well.

Companies seek out patents because they are valuable and help them remain competitive and allow them to sue other companies. As a patent examiner, my job is to make sure companies don’t get patents on things they didn’t actually invent. A company will apply for a patent, and judging by the novelty of the application, I will grant them some or all of their intended claims. Sometimes the company will claim their invention is more useful than I thought, and deserves more protection than I had originally intended gave them. We argue, eventually he gets some form of protection, and all is well.

The bad monkeys are the ones that try to steal the bananas when I’m not looking. I can’t look at all the crates all the time. Sometimes, when I’m arguing with another monkey, a sneaky monkey will sneak in behind me and steal a banana without me noticing. The other monkeys don’t like this because they don’t get as many bananas as they should have, but every monkey would steal if they were fast enough.

The bad companies are the ones that try to get patents on things they didn’t invent. I can’t do a complete search of all the prior art all the time. Sometimes, when I have to start work on another case, a company will get more protection than they really deserve. The other companies don’t like this because they might get frivolously sued for infringement, but every company will take as much protection as they can possibly get.

As a monkey handler, my job isn’t to hit every monkey with a stick; my job is to give a monkey their fair share of bananas. I only hit the monkeys that try to steal or lie to me. My first day on the job I didn’t give out a single banana, I just hit bloated monkey after bloated monkey until they ran away. Only after several attempts at sneaking by me or by tricking me would they give in and take only what was rightfully theirs.


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1 Comment

  1. Apt metaphor.

    You forgot to mention that the monkeys don’t really eat bananas for sustenance, they just try to grab as many as they can because they see all the other monkeys doing the same thing.

    I’m not sure how to tie in “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” but that’s an analogy waiting to be made.

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