Google to Pay $5M for infringing Patent 5,893,120

It isn’t the first time Google has to take part in a court case, but this time, they might be right. Since any algorithm can be reduced to a mathematical formula, the Linux code involved in Patent 5,893,120 isn’t technically patentable. For obvious reasons, the judge has problems understanding the math behind it, but here is a quick explanation from

The Bilski ruling renders all software unpatentable in the US because any method of manipulating information (i.e an algorithm) can be translated into a Haskell program, every Haskell function is a formula in the Typed Lambda Calculus, and all the variants of the Lambda Calculus are part of mathematics.

This patent covers a very simple data structure and the algorithms for manipulating it. In fact much of the text of the patent is a pseudo-code implementation in a Pascal-like language.Google’s “infringement” consisted of using Linux, which uses this algorithm. Hence anyone using Linux is a potential target.

Red Hat is reportedly seeking a declarative judgement that this patent is invalid, and Google is expected to appeal, so this is not over yet.

If you want to see the formula, check the link.

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