Making Europe Unsafe For Lawyers
Fake News written by on Friday, August 29, 2003
In what some are already calling the "Great Lawyer Exodus of 2003", thousands of lawyers, attorneys, shysters, ambulance chasers, and intellectual property mafiaso arrived at airports across Europe hoping to catch a plane, any plane at all, taking them to another continent that still welcomes lawyers.
The reason? A group of open source hackers have discovered a way to successfully file hundreds of patents on almost every aspect of the legal profession -- from making oral arguments in court to sending spurious bark letters to unsuspecting victims.
Lawyering is now effectively prohibited in Europe, and lawyers are fleeing by the thousands. And contrary to predictions made by some pundits, the sudden lack of lawyers has not yet caused civilization to collapse.
This all started when the European Patent Office's Working Group #362344.213423 finalized a series of recommendations allowing patents to be filed on virtually every concept that can be represented in English, French, Spanish, Welsh, Klingon, Binary, or dozens of other languages.
What the public didn't realize was that the working group was stuffed almost entirely with members with names like Joe "GNU's Not Linux" Raben, Dave Null, and Frederic "Hurdist" Henry.
In a comment posted on CeaseAndDesist.com (a popular hang-out for lawyers), Mr. Just Wagner, Esq., wrote, "This is obviously a conspiracy by communist hippie hackers trying to turn the patent system inside out. They are trying to fight patents with bigger patents... Not one single member of this so-called working group is a lawyer. Where did these people come from? It's obvious something is rotten here..."
The chief lobbyist for Dizzney Corporation Europe, Naomi Roach, uttered a similar opinion in an article on SubpoenaDot.com, another popular lawyer BBS with the slogan, "News for Lawyers, Stuff that Rakes In Dough". Ms. Roach wrote, "Only large corporations should have the power to stack working groups with like-minded cronies who will do their bidding. A group of no-good, capitalism-destroying, acne-laden hackers should not be able to dominate a working group and be allowed to destroy the very fabric of the legal system..."
Roach continued, "Now that this proposal has becomes law, all of the big corporations, lawyer firms, and patent mills that rely on intellectual property litigations will close down. Dying companies like Rambus or SCOaldera will go bankrupt, possibly causing a boost in technological advancement and knowledge sharing at the expense of DRM, pay-per-letter electronic books, and most importantly, the children of RIAA board members. Oh, the humiliation!"
The working group's proposal, written in an obfuscated dialect of French (one of the official languages of the European Union), used obscure vocabulary that even most Latin-loving lawyers could not understand. It described in loose terms the process of patenting "strings of debate tokens which, compiled together and dispatched to the appropriate I/O interface, can be used to influence the decision-making processes of a judge or party..."
Because of the obscure language, nobody of any importance noticed the proposal until after the EPO allowed it to take on the force of law. "Well, it's obvious nobody at the patent office actually reads any of the paperwork they receive," explained one member of the Groupe de Pingouins Libres. "Just last week they granted a patent on a 'transportation device shaped in such a way that all edges are equidistant from a central axis' -- in other words, the wheel..."
As soon as the proposal became law, numerous open source groups immediately sprung into action. Within minutes, applications for patents were filed for such innovative concepts as "coercing opposing parties to accept out-of-court settlements that adversely affect them while doubling your own bank account", "developing a GIS-based system for effective chasing and intercepting of ambulances in a major metropolitan area", and "using mail-merge software applications to automate the process of sending large volumes of cease-and-desist letters in parallel."
Following its usual mandate of rubber stamping applications without reading them, the EPO approved these applications, thus allowing anti-lawyer forces in Europe to take ownership of the very processes that have kept lawyers in control for decades.
In a particularly clever ruse, one hacker obtained a patent that describes "the infiltration of existing bodies by small groups of people with adverse goals in order to establish contradictory or destabilizing rules for the community surrounding that body." In other words, if a group of lawyers tries to stack another working group in an effort to propose new patent rules, they would suddenly be in violation of this patent.
"We've got them cornered," boasted the holder of the working-group-infiltration patent. Lawyerclysm will be defeated by computerclysm. Information wants to be free... Now that the lawyers of Europe have been surrounded by patents, their only hope is to escape to another place that still has stupid laws that continue to favor large intellectual property hoarding corporations -- such as the US."
It would appear that many European attorneys are following that advice. Since the beginning of the month, when the new patent rules took effect, an estimated 1,200 lawyers have flown overseas each day. And the exodus of rats from Europe shows no signs of ending.
In a short statement, US President Gee Dubya Bush said, "These antics just show the continued stupidity of the Europeans. Let them eat frogs and drive small cars... Meanwhile, we will welcome their lawyer refugees with open arms. Everybody knows that the United States of America has the highest lawyer-to-citizen ratio in the world, and that it is this strategery alone which has allowed this nation to become the greatest in the world..."
Richard M. Stallman and Lawrence Lessig were both available for comments at press time, but they didn't feel it was worth wasting their valuable time talking to a publication with 'humor' in its title.