US Patent No. 6,409,599 Bogus patent of the month

This month’s bogus patent is an invention that will be familiar to many; a virtual reality system in which people use to interact in virtual world and each other. US Patent No. 6,409,599 is titled “Interactive virtual reality performance theater entertainment system.”

Does the ’599 patent belong to the true inventors of VR?

The patent itself acknowledges that VR already existed when the application was filed in mid-1999. Rather, it claims minor tweaks to existing VR systems such as having participants see pre-recorded videos.

These tweaks were not new when the patent application was filed. Even if they were, minor additions to existing technology should not be enough for a patent.