Patently Absurd — Banning Hedging?

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Sourcing Strategies

Looking at much of the recent commentary on this blog, one might think that our content pertains to the effect of particular news items on various metal prices. And it is true to say that trends within our world of metals have profound ripple effects around the globe. Various activities around the world profoundly impact the price of metal. So when I saw that two inventors were seeking to file a patent application as per this Economist article, claiming “exclusive rights to the process of using transactions to hedge the risk that demand for a commodity will change,” I became quite interested. I am all about protecting intellectual property, but according to my Hedging for Dummies book, the whole notion of a hedge was well developed several hundred years ago. To recap, a hedge is an investment that is taken out specifically to reduce or cancel out the risk in another investment.

The notion of patenting the absurd has been around for quite awhile. In fact, in the larger sourcing and business realms, suing folks for patent infringement is a popular business strategy for growing revenues — just check out this blog and this article.

But if you are a metals buyer, this case is particularly worth watching. Let’s hope our courts will get tough on these business process method patent applications. Otherwise, we’re in for an even bigger roller coaster ride than the one we’re already on.

–Lisa Reisman

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