What if some caveman would have patented the use of fire?

Imagine situation 4 million years ago. The time when dinosaurs, cavemen and fish co-existed peacefully.

Imagine that one less hairy caveman started thinking that it would be awfully nice to stay warm. Imagine him experiencing this weird dream where monkey gods tell him to start a fire that would keep him warm.

And imagine 17 lawyers appearing out of nowhere when this poor bastards tries to start a fire. First lawyer would tell that use of word “fire” is prohibited, and second one explains how the progress would stop since that word is already reserved. Rest of the lawyers would remind caveman not to use that stick and bow to create fire. No can do, or he must deliver 2 squirrel furs every time he setups a fire that way.

These lawyers also heard about a tribe who would create sparks using stone and shit, and warned the skinny caveman of using that method, since it would be breach of copyright and hurt technological progress of the world and means lost profits. And nobody likes lost profits, right?

In fact, setting up fire would be same as stealing. And nobody should steal right?

The caveman didn’t quite understand everything, but these guys seemed pretty convincing. And they said there was laws, so obviously they must be right.

“So, how can I stay warm?” asked the caveman. Lawyers explained in very long terms that he’d need to buy something. When caveman asked how he would buy, the lawyers continued that actually the caveman happens to be in Region 2, while the fire making tools are only available at Region 1, so unfortunately he cannot setup fire, even when he has 79 squirrel furs to use as payment.

At this point, Caveman look those lawyers once again… and then slowly said the words: “So… if I cannot buy Region 1 stuff since I live in Region 2… and if I setup fire on my own… the progress of the world stops… and, I’m a thief?”

“That’s correct” said the lawyers and went away.

As we can clearly see, the world needs patents and region codes. Otherwise we’d still be playing card with dinosaurs or something.

And as we all know dinosaurs don’t play fair (try whine at T-rex that a set should win his 2 pairs and he’ll eat you).

So let’s get some patent laws to protect our survival and technological progress.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. You can patent button functionality: “dbltap to zoom”.

    Same as if I’d patent “UP arrow moves player character UP” or “F5 refreshes the browser screen”

  2. There’s a difference between an invent and a discovery… You can patent an invent but you can’t patent something you just discovered (like fire, rain, gold, a continent, etc)
    Now, in the game industry: You can patent your art, assets, code and final product, but you can’t patent a gameplay idea.

  3. “Lawyers explained in very long terms that he’d need to buy something.”
    Laws are made to support the perverted capitalism system we have.

    Maybe region codes are the exception to the rule. Like with patents you can pay extra to get some rights to it, but with region codes you can’t pay extra to get other region’s product.

    So caveman just needs to pay the 2 furs per use to get right to the patent.
    (-> You need to buy rights to that dvd you want, then release a one dvd batch to yourself in your region code)

  4. Reading the first two sentences I thought you went nuts. But then it became obvious that it’s satiric. :)

    The patent stuff is really annoying and ridiculous. IMO just a tool for large corporations to get rid of the “have to innovate to stay alive” problem. Some things deserve copy protection (e.g. IPs like Legend of Zelda), others don’t (e.g. cel-shading in Phantom Hourglass). Patents are just a “cheap” trick to keep a competitive advantage when you’re too bloated and slow to innovate and evolve. Risk reduction for the rich, at least in the USA.

    Short: patents == shit;// compiles but expression has no effect

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