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Todd Rowland
Wolfram Research
Maryland

Registered: Oct 2003
Posts: 113

patenting rules

What do people think about patents for an application of a very simple rule?

A possibly dated NYT article is not exactly about things as simple as stuff from NKS, but something similar. The main issue is that a mathematical algorithm or abstract idea is not patentable.

It would seem that this aspect of patent law does not take into account the fundamental NKS observation, and would make it difficult for industrial applications of NKS.

It would be more natural to treat the discovery of a use for a simple rule in the same way as 19th century discoveries of gold.

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Old Post 04-11-2012 03:09 AM
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Doug Youvan
Youvan Foundation
Kansas

Registered: Nov 2013
Posts: 7

Utility

Your principle challenge will be to develop a use. If you embody the algorithm in a device and this device has different structure or function than other devices, your algorithm could go in as a dependent claim. It is best to improve both structure and function. It is also nice if Figure 1 is actually something the patent examiner can see!

There is a bigger question: litigation. If you have a valuable patent, competitors will try to invalidate yours. Also, if you see infringement, you have only one year to sue or your patent suffers estoppel. There's also about 200 foreign jurisdictions, and filing fees could run $5M. I saw $13M used to defend a patent in litigation over a period of 6 years. That is no fun at all. People break - it is intense.

Having been through all this, I never want to see another patent! My conclusion is that it is better to have the name Frisbe than for Frisbe to have a patent on frisbes. It's name branding of your brilliance, honesty, reliability, and in their case, high quality construction. In your case, name branding a valuable algorithm to Wolfram et alia means people will come back for more (contracts).

Hope this helps.

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Todd Rowland
Wolfram Research
Maryland

Registered: Oct 2003
Posts: 113

Good point that the practical issues can be worse than just getting a patent.

Infringement might be even more difficult with simple rules because it might take some analysis to boil down something to the core idea.

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Old Post 02-17-2014 05:00 AM
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