‘Storyline patents’: are plots patentable?

McEniery, Benjamin J. (2009) ‘Storyline patents’: are plots patentable? Melbourne University Law Review, 33(1), pp. 292-319.

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The most interesting questions that arise in patent law are the ones that test the boundaries of patentable subject matter. One of those questions has been put forward recently in the United States in an argument in favour of patenting the plots of fictional stories. United States attorney Andrew F Knight has claimed that storylines are patentable subject matter and should be recognised as such. What he claims is patentable is not the copyrightable expression of a written story or even a written outline of a plot but the underlying plot of a story itself. The commercial application of ‘storyline patents’, as he describes them, is said to be their exclusive use in books and movies. This article analyses the claims made and argues that storylines are not patentable subject matter under Australian law. It also contends that policy considerations, as well as the very nature of creative works, weigh against recognition of ‘storyline patents’.

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ID Code: 28692
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: patent, storyline, plot, intellectual property, ip, patentable subject matter, grant, physicality, bilski
ISSN: 0025-8938
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Intellectual Property Law (180115)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Benjamin McEniery
Deposited On: 19 Nov 2009 03:32
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2012 01:34

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