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By Steve King
Topic - Akamai Technologies
On April 30, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a long-running patent case between two companies that most people have never heard of but use every day.
Government patent examiners are overwhelmed, which is the only explanation for some of the patents they grant. U.S. Patent No. 5,443,036, for example, protects the "invention" of using a laser pointer to exercise a cat. U.S. Patent No. 7,171,625 protects double-clicking on a mouse. Even the online Web merchant Amazon has a patent on the "one-step process" of buying with an online shopping cart. Something is obvious, of course, only after someone else thinks of it.