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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday September 12, @08:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the patently-wrong dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8963

A Polish academic is accusing Google of trying to patent technology he invented and that he purposely released into the public domain so companies like Google couldn't trap it inside restrictive licenses.

The technology's name is Asymmetric Numeral Systems (ANS) [1, 2], a family of entropy coding methods that Polish assistant professor Jarosław (Jarek) Duda developed between 2006 and 2013.

Over the years, due to its many advantages, variations of Duda's ANS technology — tANS and rANS — have been adopted in several data compression systems, such as Apple's LZFSE compressor, Facebook's Zstandard compressor, and Google's Draco 3D compressor.

Further, ANS is also currently considered for the coding phase of AV1, an upcoming open video coding format.

Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/google/google-accused-of-trying-to-patent-public-domain-technology/

[...] In a patent application complaint he filed in the US and with WIPO officials, Duda specifically mentions that he published all ANS research in the public domain to "protect its use from becoming a legal minefield."

Duda also points out that Google was well aware of his work, and he even helped Google's staff implement ANS for video file compression.

The researcher now claims that Google is trying to patent some of the same concepts he shared with the company's engineers.

"The content of this patent application is a direct natural modification of a textbook way for encoding transform coefficients that represent image blocks in video/image compression," the researcher says. "This approach is well known."

[...] Google did not reply to a request for comment. The article will be updated with any official statement if the company decides to provide context for its patent application.

The mystery remains surrounding Google's decision to patent something that is in the public domain since 2014.


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  • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @08:25PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @08:25PM (#566948)

    Hell yeah we Dick Niggers.

    You know we never fuck no old pussy.

    We fuck a whole lotta young pussy.

    Dick Niggers gonna bone yo pubic domain wit this patented dick nigger dick.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @08:39PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @08:39PM (#566951)

      I gotta say, in reference to Google I think this is one of the more accurate applications of this pre-pubescent's troll attempt.

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @09:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @09:24PM (#566963)

        When I was a kid, I snuck
        into my mother's bedroom.
        She was laying there naked.
        She had been drinking all night.
        And then I snuck up behind her,
        and then I slipped my fingers...
        ...into her purse.
        I took her money, the whole week's
        pay. I really fucked her over.
        And that's how I got the name
        Motherfucker Jones.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by leftover on Tuesday September 12, @08:54PM

    by leftover (2448) on Tuesday September 12, @08:54PM (#566957)

    Since Google used it in one of their products they certainly can't claim ignorance. No, this looks like a clear case of EVIL showing through.

    --
    Bent, folded, spindled, and mutilated.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @09:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @09:16PM (#566959)

    As usual with patents, it depends on what is being claimed. It may be that the patent describes much of the prior art, but claims only enhancements and applications of it. These are legitimate things to patent, though the patent examiner may deny them by making an argument about obviousness.

    If Google did indeed attempt to patent something that they did not invent, and knew of this prior art, then they have committed fraud on the patent office.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by kanweg on Tuesday September 12, @09:46PM (1 child)

    by kanweg (4737) on Tuesday September 12, @09:46PM (#566972)

    If you look at the Search report it says that all claims are not New, so not patentable, in view of an article by Duda.

    https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?FT=D&date=20170615&DB=&locale=&CC=WO&NR=2017100323A1&KC=A1&ND=1 [espacenet.com]

    So, it is considered not-patentable by the patent office. Google just wasted some money.

    Bert

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @10:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 12, @10:03PM (#566982)

      Some asshole Googler padded the resume with another patent application.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by crafoo on Tuesday September 12, @09:59PM (7 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Tuesday September 12, @09:59PM (#566978)

    This again shows the problem with public domain in terms of modern copyright and patent law. It's not uncommon for corporations to patent or copyright some work in the public domain, claiming it as there own. With copyrighted work, they have been known to make some minor changes, wrap it up, bind it in some books and then aggressively punish anyone using the public domain work with copyright infringement claims.

    Just because something is in the public domain and you use it you should not assume that sometime in the future you cannot run afoul of copyrights or patents. That's just the reality of the system as it is. You aren't using the information under any license and have no protection or claim to it. Yes this is insane. But dubious copyrights and patents are granted all the time. Now you have to prove in court that the patent is invalid and the idea was prior art contained in the public domain. Have fun!

    Google knows this. If they can get it patented they can abuse anyone else using it regardless of the idea's prior status.

    Yes. The entire system is insane. Top to bottom.

    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday September 12, @11:17PM (3 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday September 12, @11:17PM (#567005)

      The system is set up the way it is for good reason, all of which you pointed out.

      The whole IP system (copyright and patents) is set up so that the entity with the deepest pockets wins.

      • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday September 13, @12:03AM (1 child)

        by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 13, @12:03AM (#567018) Journal

        The whole IP system (copyright and patents) is set up so that the entity with the deepest pockets wins.

        Maybe let the whole thing play out before you rush to judgement. Duda already defeated StoreLeap's attempt to patent the same tech in the UK.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Wednesday September 13, @12:45AM

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Wednesday September 13, @12:45AM (#567027)

          That is good news of course, and I hope he does prevail, but in a general way my point still stands.

          If Google (or any other wealthy corporation) decides they need to fight to the bitter end, there will be endless hugely expensive appeals.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, @08:56AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, @08:56AM (#567139)

        The whole IP system (copyright and patents and trademarks and regulations and courts and politics and banks and basically everything else) is set up so that the entity with the deepest pockets wins.

        FTFY

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday September 12, @11:27PM (1 child)

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 12, @11:27PM (#567008) Journal

      Duda specifically mentions that he published all ANS research in the public domain to "protect its use from becoming a legal minefield."

      I'd be interested in how it was "published". In some paywalled journal? In an obscure or copyrighted book? On some website which snuck in their own copyright?

      The standards of exactly what is required for a prior art search is vague at best.

      Further, we are talking about algorithms here. Theoretically these aren't even patent-able anyway. Nor is an "idea". So neither Duda nor Google should have been able to patent them. Unless of course one or the other developed something quite unique to carry out these computations (something other than a general purpose computer).

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by Virindi on Wednesday September 13, @03:42AM

        by Virindi (3484) on Wednesday September 13, @03:42AM (#567066)

        So neither Duda nor Google should have been able to patent them. Unless of course one or the other developed something quite unique to carry out these computations (something other than a general purpose computer).

        You speak as though either the patent office or the federal circuit gives two hoots about Alice. I don't think they do.

        This invention is implemented "on a computer"!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, @11:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, @11:31AM (#567177)

      > Google knows this. If they can get it patented they can abuse anyone else using it regardless of the idea's prior status.

      Thinking about it, there's an even greater incentive for Google to try and patent this.
      If someone *else* patents it, Google could be on the receiving end of the same abuse, since they already use the tech. It actually makes enormous financial sense to try and patent it first, even if you get rejected. Patent applications are a lot cheaper then defending yourself from a bogus patent lawsuit.

      It's a two-for-the-price-of-none deal. For the tiny fee of a patent application, you're both shielded from abuse and can abuse others. Insanity indeed.

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