Here’s how patents work: when you invent something original, you document the nature of the invention and lodge that description with the Patent Office. Subsequently, anyone wanting to exploit your invention has to negotiate a license fee with you. I paraphrase, but you get the idea.

Thing is, we could have done this the other way around. Think about it:

When you mess something up in a new way, you document the type of mistake you made, and lodge that description with the Screwups Office. Subsequently, anyone committing the same mistake has to pay you a license fee.

As far as I can tell, these two systems are exactly equivalent, but opposite. And if we do one, why not the other too?

Can I file for a patent on a business model that’s the exact opposite of the patent system? And if I can, then I claim registered Screwup #1: the Patents system, a framework for rendering inventions inaccessible to people who had the same ideas independently.