The patent system in SSS is managed by three private companies: Cheetapatents, Vallis Patentis and Alpha Patents. You can choose any compatible set of patent systems to patent your products. The pricing is different depending on which symbols you use. Patents can be applied for at any of the three patent companies, but they will only be patented if all three companies agree to it.
Most of these patents are modifications of Creative Commons patents.
There are two patent companies - Cheetapatents by Cheetaplaza and Vallis Patentis by Vallis Marineris. When you patent an item, it only gets patented if both companies agree to patent it and add it to their patent lists.
There was also another patent-company, Alpha Patents by Alpha Centauri, but it doesn't seem to be functioning right now.
Patent companies didn't start for any particular reason, except to get copyrights into SSS. The first patent company was started by Vallis Marineris on 14 April 2009, soon to be followed by its competitor, Dracoshop. After a few weeks of competition, the two decided to team up and form a unified patent list.
The patents in SSS were not Bank-regulated. Instead they were simply listed by the private companies. If anyone violated the patents, the companies promised to "take action"; however as no violations were reported, nobody ever found out what that "action" was. However, the patent companies encouraged the use of Creative Commons-style copyrights for their patents. These patents are less restrictive, with conditions like "give credit to the original inventor" or "do not use this invention for commercial purposes", making them more open than normal patents.
Alpha Centauri was not happy with the way its two chief competitors were monopolizing the patent scene. It first tried to sabotage the patent system by creating Alpha CopyCo, a company that was allowed to copy products even if they had been patented. Dracoshop retaliated by introducing a new patent symbol called "Do not copy, even with Alpha CopyCo". Eventually, Vallis Marineris and Dracoshop gave permission to Alpha Centauri to join their group, starting the third patent company.
In the beginning, there was no distinction between patents and copyrights. People had to register both with the patenting companies if they wanted copy-protection. Nowadays, there is nothing special about SSS copyrights as all creations are automatically protected by the national copyright laws anyway. Patents still work within SSS, however the patent craze has now died down and people rarely bother to patent their products.
Here is the list of patent symbols used by Cheetapatents and Vallis Patentis:
☺ or Ⓑ or (by):
This patent is called Attribution. It means you can give this or copies of this to other people, but you must give credit to the person who made the original one (or who patented it).
⦿ or ⨁ or (ↄ):
This patent is called ShareAlike. It means you can give out copies of this, but you have to sell them with the same conditions that you got them with. If you don't use this patent, and just use, fro example, ☺, then the person who buys it from you has to give credit, but (s)he can sell it to someone else without the☺ patent.
Ⓢ or (nc):
This patent is called NonComercial. It means you cannot use this product or any copy of this product to get money.
① or ② or (dc):
This patent is called DoNotCopy. It means you can use this product, but you cannot make copies of it.
⊛ or (pp):
This patent is called PayForYourProfit. It means if you get money using this product, you have to pay 20% of it to the person who patented it. If the amount is something other than 20,%, it will be written as ⊛30% or ⊛9$$$ or sometihing.
⇴ or (→) or (->):
This patent is calles Resell. It means you HAVE TO resell this product. The ⨁ patent does not apply to this patent, but if an item has other patents, those patents have to stay. For example, if you get an item with the patent ☺⨁⇴, then you can resell with either a ☺⨁⇴ patent or a ☺⨁ patent. If you get an item patented with ⨁⇴, then you can resell with either a ⨁⇴ patent or a ⨁ patent.
This patent is called PlanePatent. It means ☺⨁.
Patents that have to be used alone
These patents have to be used alone. If you use them, you cannot put any other patent.
⍟ or (pd):
This means "this item is not patented". It is used so that buyers don't go around looking for the patnet symbols when there are none!
© or (c):
This patent is called FullCopyright. It means ☺⨁①Ⓢ.