*smooch* (ldy) wrote,

  • Mood:
  • Music:

"Now, Billy, tell the class: what's A+B/C?" "The property of XYZ Corp.?" "Very good, Billy; you may sit down now."

A few of you have heard (or seen) me bitch and moan express my dissatisfaction with the GIF file format, the patent-owners of the algorithm that powers said file format, and the U.S. Patent Office, which seems to think it's perfectly A-OK to patent an algorithm.

Why do I have a problem with patenting algorithms?

Main Entry: al·go·rithm
Pronunciation: 'al-g&-"ri-[th]&m
Function: noun
Etymology: alteration of Middle English algorisme, from Old French & Medieval Latin; Old French, from Medieval Latin algorismus, from Arabic al-khuwArizmi, from al-KhwArizmI fl A.D. 825 Arabian mathematician
Date: circa 1894
: a procedure for solving a mathematical problem (as of finding the greatest common divisor) in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation; broadly : a step-by-step procedure for solving a problem or accomplishing some end especially by a computer
- al·go·rith·mic /"al-g&-'ri[th]-mik/ adjective
- al·go·rith·mi·cal·ly /-mi-k(&-)lE/ adverb

(Emphasis mine.)

Somebody owns the rights to solving a problem? Yes. That is my problem. The issue goes a bit deeper than that, but it's my biggest problem with the issue.

If you have a problem with that concept too, do read the following (courtesy of Burn All Gifs) and pass it along as you see fit:


Please take a few minutes to let USPTO know that patent reform is
important to you.

April 12th is the deadline to submit nominations for the US Patent and
Trademark Office's Patent Public Advisory Committee. If you or someone
you know has some helpful advice for USPTO and is a US citizen willing
to serve, please submit a nomination. A letter and the person's resume
is all you need to send.

The committee's job is "to review the policies, goals, performance,
budget and user fees of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
(USPTO) with respect to patents." Last year, the Secretary of Commerce
packed the committee with patent lawyers and representatives of
patent-holding corporations. This year, please help by nominating
someone who will represent the public interest.

It doesn't take long. You can do it by email. Instructions are on the
Linux Journal site, at:


Please forward this mail unmodified to appropriate lists, newsgroups,
and other fora.


(Emphasis mine again.)

Please indulge me and pass this along to anyone you know who might be qualified and willing. Thank You! : )

We now return you to your previously-scheduled journal entries, already in progress.

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