Patent Nonsense


Admittedly, I've not read the entire patent, but this guy managed to get a patent for the linked list. If you read only the Abstract, it looks like the patent would cover using a list of pointers to point to items in a collection - not the items in the collection containing pointers to the next item. Reading the details, though, shows this not to be the case (phew! Was thinking that even Blaise Pascal wouldn't be immune to this one!)

It looks like (only when you read the detail) that the patent would truly only cover doubly-linked (or n-linked) lists, not singularly-linked lists. However, this is still a really broad patent of a data structure. I told a buddy who is a transportation engineer that this would be akin to patenting the wheel. Not the tire. Not a particular type of wheel. The wheel.

Living in a capitalist society, the one thing that bothers me the most about the patent office is not the patents they allow through. It's that the patent office has a monopoly on the patent process. See, as security professionals, if we decide that a standard of measurement is inadequate, we can invent a new standard of measurement, get a bunch of other security professionals on board, and the standard is effectively changed. What we need is a new patent office. But if we were to start a new patent office, and everybody bought into it, it still wouldn't be the patent office.

1 comment:

  1. Let's patent all sorts of lists...

    The To-Do List

    A structured list of items that must be accomplished. Each item is crossed off as it is completed.

    The Grocery List

    An unstructured but often sorted list of items to purchase at the grocery store. Each item is checked off as it is inserted into the cart or basket.