Feeds

Numbers to be patentable

10, 9, 8, miss out ‘thing’

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Stob In a move that has surprised naïve observers, the US Patent Office has announced that from now on it will consider ‘serious’ applications to patent specific integer numbers.

"It was the logical next step," grey-haired and twinkling Patent Laureate Mr J Dall Swanhuffer twinkled to a shocked press conference today.

"Remember human genes. Certain doubting Duanes used to argue that, just because nobody invented them, they couldn’t be patented. 'What will the patent-holder do if I happen to have a patented gene in my body? Shoot me?' they used to jeer. Well, those wiseacres were proved wrong then, and they’re going to be proved wrong again.

"Of course there has been irresponsible campaigning and scaremongering among left-wing pressure groups with an anti-big business bias. We expected this and we are ready for it. These are the same forces at work that were against software patents granted for stunningly obvious and general techniques. In truth one cannot but feel sorry for any confused individual who vainly tries to hold up the inevitable and just progress of patent law.

"To the law-abiding lay and IT community I say: yes, I have been listening carefully to your misplaced concerns, and I can put your minds entirely at rest," said Mr Swanhuffer. "You have no need to fear any number-crunching bogeymen. It is nonsense to suggest, as may well be suggested, that first grade school children chanting their times tables with Miss Pearson will be subject to raids by the sinister soon-to-be-formed FANT [Federation Against Number Theft] action squads in balaclavas carrying stun grenades.

"For one thing I have it on excellent authority that FANT operatives will never wear balaclavas except when it is very cold; for another it is unrealistic to expect any patents to be granted on integers in the range of the usual times tables that we teach kids – even the very smart ones who do 13 times and 14 times. Our preliminary research suggests that extensive prior art exists, even for comparatively obscure numbers like 151.’

Mr Swanhuffer indicated that the new arrangements will come into effect immediately throughout the United States, to be followed shortly by Western Europe ‘if it knows what is good for it’.

Integers are a kind of number with no fractional part, for example '12', and are widely used in both domestic and commercial applications. They were discovered by Sir Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century, or if not him then Pythagoras in his bath, or Benjamin Franklin. One of that lot. ®

© Copyright 2003 Verity Stobb

Five Stob stories on Number Patentability (read them in sequence)
Numbers to be patentable
Patented numbers ‘a good idea’
First integer patented
Softwron shows off its new technology
’Wron number caught in Fermat-defying romp

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Lego is the TOOL OF SATAN, thunders Polish priest
New minifigs like Monster Fighters are turning kids to the dark side
Dark SITH LORD 'Darth Vader' joins battle to rule, er, Ukraine
Only I can 'make an empire out of a republic' intones presidential candidate
Chinese company counters pollution by importing fresh air
Citizens line up for bags of that sweet, sweet mountain air
Google asks April Fools: Want a job? Be our 'Pokemon Master'
Mountain View is prankin' like it's 1999...
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.