Are We Really Going to Patent Pension Advice?


 "I'd help you find the best retirement plan, but then I'd have to kill you." -- Tony Soprano.

It has been suggested that tax advice and retirement planning ideas are patentable. Just like the patent on my recipe for potato latkas (pat. pending). But I don't think it's a good idea. Now I understand that a lot of time and effort goes into making these plans and I understand the resentment when someone else prances in and copies the result, without having invested that time and effort. But justifiable resentment is not a test for a patent.

Where's the line to be drawn? If I read a particular court decision to mean a particular thing, is my reading patentable? If I write a brief that finally explains the Rule Against Perpetuities and its 88 permutations and combinations, so that even a layperson can understand it, is my explanation patentable? The suggestion that this kind of advice should be patented only tarnishes the image of lawyers and gives "holders of the public trust" an entirely new meaning.

I'm the first to say I really don't understand the argument in favor of patentability and would appreciate it if someone would explain it to me.