Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google IBM Microsoft Patents Your Rights Online

Google Patents Caching MLK Day Search Results 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the collecting-the-dreams dept.
theodp writes "Google remembers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. not only with its Doodles, but also with its patents. 'Right around the Martin Luther King Holiday,' explained Google in its application for a recently-granted patent on Discovery of Short-Term and Emerging Trends in Computer Network Traffic, 'there may be many searches about "Martin Luther King"...Thus, it would be useful to have better methods of detecting short term trends for the purposes of caching search results to making them more readily available to users.' You may call the invention of detecting and caching 'MLK Day Sale' search results patently obvious, but the USPTO calls it U.S. Patent No. 8,082,342. Hey, at least it's arguably better than the patents issued to Microsoft and Google for avoiding walking or driving down Martin Luther King Boulevard!"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Patents Caching MLK Day Search Results

Comments Filter:
  • by TechGuys (2554082) on Monday January 16, 2012 @11:43AM (#38713904)
    These granted software patents are ridiculous. Patenting detection of trending topics and search queries? Jeez. Companies like Google and Apple are collectively abusing the system and patenting every single thing they can think of, most of which are outright obvious.

    The worst thing is that like copyrights, U.S. is trying to spread patents (including software patents) all over the world. They've been trying to get European Union to join them for a long time now. At least we've still resisted, even though it is getting there.

    And you know what will happen? Countries like India and China will only strengthen their positions. When companies in the US and Europe have huge overhead costs going to lawyers, have to avoid good techniques in their products because someone has patented it already, and are spending time in courts, Chinese and Indians will just laugh and grow to dominate the world markets. U.S. knows this. They know it very well because after all, they blatantly ignored all European copyrights and that's how they got their power. And don't think even for a second that the Chinese don't know history or are afraid to use the same advantage. In a way US is like the old media companies and RIAA/MPAA.. so adjusted to their ways and existing powers that they just can't move forward with the rest of the world anymore.

    It's time to get rid of all software patents and this constant abuse by corporations.
    • These granted software patents are ridiculous. Patenting detection of trending topics and search queries? Jeez. Companies like Google and Apple are collectively abusing the system and patenting every single thing they can think of, most of which are outright obvious.

      It's not the corporations' fault in this case.. the fact that software patents exist mean that you have patent the obvious before somebody else does.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Companies like Google and Apple are collectively abusing the system and patenting every single thing they can think of, most of which are outright obvious.

      Google isn't abusing the system. They're trying to protect themselves from people who are abusing it, like Apple and Microsoft. The patents that they have filed and acquired are solely for defensive purposes. Google has never used a software patent offensively, and is very outspoken about the need for patent reform: https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=google+patent+reform [google.com]

      • by youn (1516637) on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:54PM (#38714708) Homepage

        I remember a similar argument said about microsoft because for a long time it did not use its patents in an offensive way... including to stiffle competition... what is to stop google from changing their mind next year? or simply to sell their patents to a more litigative (If you think this can not happen, just look at the recent sale of novell patents)

        • by Synerg1y (2169962)

          There's bigger implications to google "changing its mind" on its current benevolence than patents :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        We're not building a big army because we want to invade anyone, we're building a big army so that we can defend ourselves against those other bad people. We can tell that they're planing on invading us, because they've been building big armies...
        • We're not building a big army because we want to invade anyone, we're building a big army so that we can defend ourselves against those other bad people. We can tell that they're planing on invading us, because they've been building big armies...

          Replace "because they've been building big armies..." with "because they started invading us last year".

      • YEah Google needs to start actively campaigning for the abolition of software patents.

        You see what they did with SOPA and PIPA . They can do the same for SW patents if they want to.

        I like Google. Who else have we got in the corporate world, IBM? Snark.

        Google shares my values generally and certainly on the important issues AGW, freedom of speech, net neutrality. They need to seriously take stock here and make a decisive move here. It's not enough to play a crooked game well and reluctantly . They hav

    • Wrong solution (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Theaetetus (590071)

      These granted software patents are ridiculous. Patenting detection of trending topics and search queries? Jeez.

      You complain that too many software patents are obvious... so your solution is no patents at all for the entire industry, regardless of whether they're inventive? That seems overbroad. There are a few obvious patents in the automotive industry, too - should all automotive patents be abolished? How about pharmaceuticals? Some of the diagnostic methods are pretty obvious, too... Should we abolish all patents on new medicines?

      There's simply no connection to the alleged problem in your solution. If there's a p

      • You complain that too many software patents are obvious... so your solution is no patents at all for the entire industry, regardless of whether they're inventive?

        Short answer: Yes.

        Longer answer: I see nothing wrong with patents for machines that are a combination of specialized hardware and software (e.g. Medical equipment like MRI, Equipment used in manufacturing, Household appliances, Automotive accessories, Specialized (aka Novel) telecommunication hardware). However the patenting of software algorithms

        • You complain that too many software patents are obvious... so your solution is no patents at all for the entire industry, regardless of whether they're inventive?

          Short answer: Yes.

          Longer answer: I see nothing wrong with patents for machines that are a combination of specialized hardware and software (e.g. Medical equipment like MRI, Equipment used in manufacturing, Household appliances, Automotive accessories, Specialized (aka Novel) telecommunication hardware). However the patenting of software algorithms or software only applications are absurd and should be abolished.

          Short reply: That's the way the law already works.

          Long reply: Software algorithms or software-only applications are already unpatentable. Under Bilski, method claims must be tied to a specific machine, or be transformative, or otherwise be non-abstract. Pure software, or "software per se" is unpatentable under 35 USC 101.

          But that's not more of an aside about what it means to be "specialized hardware". Going back to the original point, you said "yes" to "no patents for the entire software industry, regard

          • Software algorithms or software-only applications are already unpatentable.

            So patents on software based memory management, just in time compilation, caching of data based on forecasted events (like the one mentioned in TFA) do not exist?

            What is "absurd" about patenting of software algorithms?

            The reasons for absurdity have been mentioned countless times on this site and others by more than just me.

            • Software algorithms or software-only applications are already unpatentable.

              So patents on software based memory management, just in time compilation, caching of data based on forecasted events (like the one mentioned in TFA) do not exist?

              It helps if you read the entire quote:

              Software algorithms or software-only applications are already unpatentable. Under Bilski, method claims must be tied to a specific machine, or be transformative, or otherwise be non-abstract. Pure software, or "software per se" is unpatentable under 35 USC 101.

              Patents on software alone do not exist, but patents on software performed by computers or on computers that perform software do exist.

              What is "absurd" about patenting of software algorithms?

              The reasons for absurdity have been mentioned countless times on this site and others by more than just me.

              Again, the entire quote:

              Why not? What is "absurd" about patenting of software algorithms? And don't just say "the Supreme Court said that mathematical algorithms were unpatentable" - do you know why they said that? And how does that reason relate to software - not "how does math relate to software," but how does abolishing software patents support their underlying rationale?

              What others have said is "SCOTUS said so" or the slightly more detailed "all software is maths, and SCOTUS said math is unpatentable." And no, people haven't addressed the underlying rationale. Frankly, I find that most people (a) haven't thought about it at all, or (b) don't understand it. Not surprisingly, most p

              • Patents on software alone do not exist, but patents on software performed by computers or on computers that perform software do exist.

                Does software exist outside of a computer?

                What others have said is "SCOTUS said so" or the slightly more detailed "all software is maths, and SCOTUS said math is unpatentable." And no, people haven't addressed the underlying rationale. Frankly, I find that most people (a) haven't thought about it at all, or (b) don't understand it. Not surprisingly, most people haven't actua

                • Patents on software alone do not exist, but patents on software performed by computers or on computers that perform software do exist.

                  Does software exist outside of a computer?

                  Sure. I've got a page full of source code sitting on my desk right now.

                  You're trying to move the goal posts. I already conceded the validity of Diamond v Diehr in my original reply:

                  I see nothing wrong with patents for machines that are a combination of specialized hardware and software (e.g. Medical equipment like MRI, Equipment used in manufacturing, Household appliances, Automotive accessories, Specialized (aka Novel) telecommunication hardware).

                  Actually, that's apparently Bilski you're thinking, not Diamond. Diamond didn't require specialized hardware.

                  I'm surprised you brought up Diamond v Diehr since I already stated that machines based on computers can be patented.

                  The bit in Diamond v. Diehr that is normally cited in these discussions is paraphrasing Benson: "... an algorithm, or mathematical formula, is like a law of nature, which cannot be the subject of a patent."

                  I think "Gottschalk v. Benson" and "Bilski v. Kappos" are more relevant to the discussion. Since they are software patent related.

                  Actually, Bilski was business-method patent related. His claims had nothing to do with software.

                  Anyway my argument is that just because you make an application that has a "web based" user interface or make a version of an application that runs on a phone, it doesn't become patent worthy.

                  That's a conclusion, not an ar

                  • Actually, that's apparently Bilski you're thinking, not Diamond. Diamond didn't require specialized hardware.

                    You may want to look that one up yourself. Diamond was a automatic plastic mold and Bilksi was an attempt to patent software that implemented a business method for hedging losses in the energy sector.

                    I went back up the thread, and I didn't see any examples... Not disbelieving you, but can you post some numbers?

                    So patents on software based memory management, just in time compilation, caching of data

    • by swalve (1980968)
      If it is so obvious, why didn't you patent it first?
      • If it is so obvious, why didn't you patent it first?

        With the exception of the large software corporations, who has the money to patent every obvious thing out there? How many of these people can afford to defend their patent?

        Bill Gate's greatest fear was that someone in a garage was already working on the next online revolution. Software patents like the one that was mentioned in the TFA puts most of those fears to rest. If you reduce the number of potential competitors by making it expensive to enter the

      • Because obtaining a patent is expensive and defending it is even more so.
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Imagine this, who do you think submits all those patents? They probably have a dept. that gets paid for doing this, of course they'll try and push everything through, realizing the sad state of the patent dept. If it was your job, wouldn't you try too? It seems dumb to submit these patents, but 1. somebody's gotta eat 2. its only possible because of the flaws in the patent system, not in google's business model. In a system where the checks and balances don't add up, isn't it safe to assume that human n

    • Exactly. This nonsense will continue for some time and eventually it will implode. Just a matter of time. Unfortunately (US) companies don't seem to have much of a choice...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mrclisdue (1321513)

      What I'd really like to know, TechGuys (aka a few other aliases), is why, in your first-post-same-timestamp-as-article-100+word diatribe, did you fail to mention Microsoft, even once? Why did you not lump MS in with Google (always first) and Apple in this statement:

      Jeez. Companies like Google and Apple are collectively abusing the system and patenting every single thing they can think of, most of which are outright obvious

      Was this simply an oversight, Insightbites? An error of omission, DCTech?

      Pray tell.

    • And they don't even follow that non software patents.

    • Let's be clear about one thing- IP lawyers are succeeding in creating a parasitic lifestyle on our industry and on our lives and futures.

      They impose themselves as non-value producing entities on an industry and then begin siphoning off money from that industry.

      They do not add value, they remove value; they do not promote progress, they retard progress. There are so many dollars being thrown off from any given product, and lawyers have conspired to insert themselves into that revenue stream, directly a

  • That in a few months when i search google for "terrible Quarterbacks" Tim Tebow wont be the top result anymore?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is there any kind of comment-system regarding these patents online? Like, my (published) thesis-work from1997 exactly covers the stuff mentioned above, with restriction that there are exactly 2 priority-levels..

  • by ProppaT (557551) on Monday January 16, 2012 @11:53AM (#38714024) Homepage

    Please reread that last sentence and decide to delete it. It's racist and it's debatably slander towards Microsoft implying that they a) assume that all MLK Blvds are dangerous or in bad areas of town and b) their patent actually goes so far as to always exclude MLK Blvds from walking paths. You're not defending your point by linking to that St. Petersburg Times article, either.

    • by Entropius (188861) on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:00PM (#38714080)

      There's some truth in it. In every city I've been in with a MLK Blvd, it's somewhere you don't want to be. I've heard a black comedian say as much in a piece. When moving to Baltimore, a friend of mine -- who's quite liberal, has gone to the Occupy protests, etc. -- told me: "Look, here's a map of town. See this diagonal road? It's MLK. Don't go on the other side of it."

      Perhaps not all of them are this way, but enough of them are.

      • In every city I've been in with a MLK Blvd, it's somewhere you don't want to be. I've heard a black comedian say as much in a piece.

        But earlier in the same routine, Chris Rock used the N-word repeatedly to refer to "low-expectation-having" people who happen to be black.

    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:03PM (#38714108)

      What rubbish - I never took it to be racist at all, what I took from it was that on MLK day, it's probable that streets named after the man may be in use for other things, such as street parties, and as such you would want to avoid those streets if you actually had to travel on that day.

      • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:23PM (#38714310)

        If you follow the links in that line, you will be relieved of your innocent impression.

        But I don't think it is "racist" - it's an old joke popularized by Chris Rock, and the fact is that many MLK-named roads are in bad parts of town. Pointing out that we have racial problems in this country is not in of itself "racist".

        • The only reason it is not racist is because it is being told by a blank man.
          • by xswl0931 (562013)

            Who's racist now? Blank Man was played by Damon Wayans, not Chris Rock.

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            The only reason it is not racist is because it is being told by a blank man.

            Presuming you meant "black".

            It is not racist, it is history. Most of the "MLK" streets are in what were predominantly black neighborhoods in the 60s and 70s. This makes sense - that is where the blacks that were demanding it lived, and at least some of the whites didn't care what the streets were named in those areas. In some cities (Philadelphia), the whites resisted naming any street after MLK until about 5 years ago. To Philly's credit, it's actually a very nice street.

      • by Oswald (235719)

        Then perhaps you should have clicked on the supplied link to see what they really meant.

    • Please reread that last sentence and decide to delete it. It's racist and it's debatably slander towards Microsoft implying that they a) assume that all MLK Blvds are dangerous or in bad areas of town and b) their patent actually goes so far as to always exclude MLK Blvds from walking paths. You're not defending your point by linking to that St. Petersburg Times article, either.

      Can you explain why MLK Blvd being dangerous is racist? Bearing in mind that I'm a non-US citizen and that in most countries that I've been to or lived in, bad neighbourhoods are 'dangerous' irrespective of race.

    • by Troke (1612099)
      As a frequent traveler, there is quite a bit of truth to the danger of MLK boulevard. While they aren't always in bad neighborhoods, there does seems to be a high frequency of MLK blvd appearing in areas that business travelers would be wise to roll up their windows and lock their doors. Something along the lines of "Liquor store, pawn shop, liquor store, pawn shop, liquor store, OK fellas, time to roll up the windows."
    • I didn't read it as racist, I read it as a childish implication that Microsoft or Google are racist.
    • There's a reference in the links, if you choose to follow them:

      When a white friend told Chris Rock that he was on a street called Martin Luther King and asked what he should do, Chris Rock answered, "Run!" At another time and on a more serious note, Rock said: "I don't care where you live in America, if you're on Martin Luther King Boulevard, there's some violence going on." He is right.

      What bother me in TFA is that the last sentence says

      patents issued to Microsoft and Google for avoiding walking or driving down Martin Luther King Boulevard!"

      and the links lead us to

      Microsoft Patents Bad Neighborhood Detection

      IBM Patents Real-Time Auto Insurance Surcharges

      And a column about MLK-named roads and avenues being violent. There's no mention of Google in any of the linked articles, so WTF was the submitter on?

  • by Entropius (188861) on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:03PM (#38714110)

    I think it's a little misguided to read this article and say "trololol, software patents, we should kill those." Yes, we should -- but this patent isn't bad necessarily because it's on software.

    This patent's bad because it's obvious, which is a far broader problem with the patent system. Anybody who understands what caching is and who was presented with the problem "Hey, we're getting overwhelmed by holiday-specific searches on those holidays" would come up with something like this as a solution.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:17PM (#38714248) Homepage

      "Something like this" is not covered by the patent. One particular implementation of a trend-prediction system is covered, down to the exact formula used to determine the need for a cache of a particular term's results. Something else, like using a moving average, would not be covered, and may work well enough to do the job.

    • by Anguirel (58085)

      Let me resolve your misconception with a story. A man has a sink with stopped up drains. He calls a plumber. The plumber comes over, wanders around a bit in the basement, taps on a few pipes, then smacks one really hard with his wrench. The drain starts working again immediately. "That will be $50" says the plumber. "But you just hit a pipe! That's not worth $50!" replies the man. "Oh no, I hit the pipe for free. The $50 is for knowing which pipe to hit, and where."

      Having an algorithm to sort is ob

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:13PM (#38714202) Homepage

    The patent as written claims the use of a particular formula (Which I read as "N'=N/Df^((T'-T)/Ti)") to predict trends.

    It is not a patent on prediction in general, or prediction with computers, or caching, or caching based on predictions. It is a very specific design of a non-obvious system, applied in a specific way. Implement the system differently, and you're not violating the patent. The MLK mention is an example, which in no way affects the actual claims. In fact, it's a trivial example, as well. Here's an excerpt containing all references to MLK from the patent itself:

    Short-term trends are, however, important to consider, as they are often the result of external activities dominating the time of day and date, as well as current events. For example, during the days preceding and following a space shuttle launch there may be many searches relating to "space shuttles," "NASA," "space," and similar terms. Right around the Martin Luther King Holiday, there may be many searches about "Martin Luther King." If a celebrity was just arrested for drunk driving and assaulting a police officer, it is reasonable to expect a significant increase in queries involving the name of that celebrity. Thus, it would be useful to have better methods of detecting short term trends for the purposes of caching search results to making them more readily available to users.

    Sorry, but the typical Slashdot patent hate is yet again unjustified, and the reference to MLK is likely unintentional, as the patent was filed in December of 2006 and granted in December of 2011. It looks like the submitter just search for "Martin Luther King patents" and wrote a story around the results. Well done, sensationalist headline!

    • So your argument is that it's inobvious that when some major event happens that it will be searched for? Seems a little disingenuous to me.
      • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Monday January 16, 2012 @12:34PM (#38714416) Homepage

        No. The non-obvious part is the formula. If you don't use that formula (or trivial alterations of it), you aren't affected by the patent. The general concept of "cache based on predictions" is not patented (at least, not by this one).

    • by gayak (745124)
      That explanation doesn't make it any less obvious or more innovative. It's basically the same issue that retail stores do at different holidays, stock up something that they think is going to be on demand. Somehow this applied to computers makes it innovative?
  • Isn't it a little early for April 1 Patents [ietf.org].

  • I think you meant "Microsoft and IBM" for those links. And if you're going to get your hate on, you should at least find a way to include Apple, who is, after all, on a patent trolling warpath to kill the largest deployment of Linux to consumers ever.

  • I may just be ignorant, but I don't really understand why this predictive caching is important. Doesn't Google cache popular searches anyway? So can't its software automatically detect trends as they approach and keep cached searches of popular searches as they become popular? I mean, when millions of people are watching a live TV show that mentions some piece of popular culture, which drives many of them to immediately Google it, I would think that Google's basic search software would cache it as soon as t
    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      Google can't cache everything that gets searched, because that would drive up server costs. They can't just use the most recent queries, because some users will wait until the next commercial break, end of the show, or even the next morning at work to look it up. By following trends and (as the patent partially covers) assigning priorities to terms based on recent popularity, they can serve the fastest results to the most users.

  • Next to be patented is searching for short term trends about short term trends...

  • To pay restitution to slave descendants or is thus whitey taking another stab at... well, you know.
  • Google may be able to monopolize transient search demand for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but only the King Center can monopolize his ideas. [mlkonline.net]

Kleeneness is next to Godelness.

Working...