Microsoft goes Darwinian with evolutionary tree patent
Multiplication tables next
A Microsoft patent application has evolutionary biologists worried Redmond could claim standard techniques used by scientists to organize how animals are related through time.
The patent application, which came to light in the August edition of Science, claims invention of methods for mapping biological data to an evolutionary tree. It includes methods for counting evolutionary events as well as grouping evolutionary relatedness from biomolecules.
The patent application was filed July 23, 2007 and credited to Stuart Ozer.
"This patent is written in such a broad language that it appears to swallow up any activity that involves understanding biodiversity though phylogenetics," said William Piel, a phylogeneticst at Yale University quoted in the article.
Piel claims the basic techniques are derived from as far back as when Charles Darwin sketched the first evolutionary tree, and today are used by hundreds of biological systematics software packages. "Microsoft might as well patent the multiplication tables," Piel said.
Because such a patent could potentially hobble an entire scientific field, evolutionary biologists will surely be keeping a closer eye on Microsoft's newfound interest in gene-splicing software. ®
Patent on the wheel
"What next? A patent on the wheel...?"
@ SteveK about patenting the US patent system
"Has anyone actually patented the US patent service?"
Patent are usually filed for things that could be somehow useful, even remotely so. I think the "US patent service" stands totally clear to this regard....
I dont know many people who use the full alphabet let alone every bizarre character available!
Yes it would be a lot of calculation time on silicon - and even longer on a windows machine but not everyone is stuck in the stone age.
And as for AC 23/8/09 20:09 I had a friend shot dead by the IRA. The bullet was paid for on the streets of NT a few yards from ground zero. The terrorist still walks free in the US. Most IRA bombs were made of Libyan Semtex paid in $ collected in the US.
The UK have tried to extradite convicted IRA terrorist for many years - we got ONE back recently! Why, did the US finally accede to having terrorists face justice?
No such luck - he committed the much much greater crime of having his work permit expire.
Our law may be laughable but yours ...