Ben Cantrick (mackys) wrote,
Ben Cantrick
mackys

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How stupid is our patent system: patent for a linked list - granted in 2006.


A computerized list is provided with auxiliary pointers for traversing the list in different sequences. One or more auxiliary pointers enable a fast, sequential traversal of the list with a minimum of computational time. Such lists may be used in any application where lists may be reordered for various purposes.

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT7028023&id=Szh4AAAAEBAJ&dq=linked+list

Yes I know there's metric craploads of prior art, yes I know it's both obvious and trivial, yes I know this patent will be shot down in a microsecond, yes I know it is so pathetic as to laugh. But my point is, why are we issuing patents for algorithms in the first place? Even if the patent examiners were to suddenly reverse their near-flawless track record of complete ineptitude and lack of even the most basic computer science knowledge, would it even be a good idea to issue software patents in general? What if Microsoft patented the idea of a "static, pressable UI element" and nobody else could use buttons in their programs? What if the guy who invented the hash table had patented it, and for 14 years nobody could ever store hashes of anything in memory for fear of a lawsuit? You may laugh at these examples, but do you remember when the Patent Office granted Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com a patent on one-click shopping? And he used it to shut down BarnesAndNoble's shopping website 23 days later?

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy. Because someday the way that you earn YOUR paycheck is going to be patented by somebody else. And then we'll see who's laughing.
Tags: intellectual property, reddit
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