Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.
Ernest Miller @ Copyfight
Patenting Punctuation (Ernest Miller)

Well, it seems that someone has patented some new forms of punctuation: WIPO Patent Publication No. WO9219458:

Using two new punctuation marks, the question comma and the exclamation comma: and respectively, inquisitiveness and exclamation may be expressed within a written sentence structure, so that thoughts may be more easily and clearly conveyed to readers. The new punctuation marks are for use within a written sentence between words as a comma, but with more feeling or inquisitiveness.Seems that this is sort of an addition to the faddish punctuation known as the Interrobang.
via I/P Updates

This reminds me a bit of when Despair, Inc. trademarked the frowny emoticon ":-("

3 Comments

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry on that... it might provoke a stormflood of new, synthetic punctuation. But since our languages have been created by humans and are used for open communication... I hope he will not sue others using them! Maybe in time, we'll get new keyboards too.

Using an exclamation or question mark within a sentence was
accepted practice in English at least up until the early
19th century!

They never received a patent -- a WO number merely signifies that an application was filed and published through the PCT convention. It appears that the applicant never finished the process. So, there does not appear to be a "patent" on the punctuation.

People attempt to patent all types of things -- for example, a process of love. Any wonder why some odd ball ones get through from time to time?

PHOSITA: an intellectual property weblawg.

Leave a comment

2 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Patenting punctuation.

TrackBack URL for this entry: https://joi.ito.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2733

patenting punctuation - copyfighters lament from PHOSITA ::: an intellectual property weblawg
August 29, 2004 12:41 PM

Late Saturday evening fun::!?$@ (oh no - I may infringe)From The Butt Ugly Weblog, quoting Joi Ito, quoting Ernest Miller @ Copyfight (and starting with IP Updates for good measure):Well, it seems that someone has patented some new forms of punctuation... Read More

patenting punctuation - copyfighters lament from PHOSITA ::: an intellectual property weblawg
August 29, 2004 12:44 PM

Late Saturday evening fun::!?$@ (oh no - I may infringe)From The Butt Ugly Weblog, quoting Joi Ito, quoting Ernest Miller @ Copyfight (and starting with IP Updates for good measure):Well, it seems that someone has patented some new forms of punctuation... Read More

Monthly Archives