San Francisco - In a mixed decision a Federal court decided yesterday that a person can have the same rights as a corporation, setting up likely conflicts for years to come. The ruling "attempts to right the imbalance of power created by the US Government's decision in the 1800's to consider corporations as 'persons' in the eyes of the law," said Phelan Wayside, the lead attorney for the plaintiff in the case.
The court went beyond simple recognition of corporate status for individuals, however; the ruling also holds that the individual may trademark himself, requires that anyone who refers to his trademarked identity pay him a royalty, and in what is likely to be the most controversial section of the decision, states that individuals may trademark other people so long as they are not already trademarked. The precedent for this was the legal practice employed by genetic researchers of patenting genes in existing lifeforms, a practice made legal by the case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty in 1980 and extended in the next decade with pharmaceutical companies acquiring the rights to huge quantities of plant matter via trademark.
Yesterday's ruling extends to the incorporation and trademarking of deceased persons as well, a process the court referred to as "incorpseration".
The plaintiff in the case, Fred Wellington, was exultant*. "It's about time! We've been saying for years that corporations have no empathy, accept no responsibility for their actions, are concerned only with their own well-being, are not accountable, and lie like a mattress. Why shouldn't I have those rights, too?"
Immediately acting on the court's ruling by incorporating himself, he has also managed to snag several unwary and slow-moving identities as well; Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey refused to comment when asked about their own legal plans. Abraham Lincoln could not be reached for comment but crowds visiting Lincoln's tomb claimed to see something spinning above the structure.
"The rush to incorpserate has just begun," said Fred Wellington.
Financial speculation on corpserations is a new aspect which Wall Street is only beginning to come to grips with as some traders believe they can be traded like commodities. Unincorpserated human corporations (formerly referred to as "the living") are entering the market as well and as one trader asked, "Who wouldn't want to sell George Bush short right now?"
* Each use of the symbol in this article required us to pay $0.47 to Fred Wellington. Oops - there's another one.