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Overcompensating

Overcompensating is a webcomic (that one is safe for work) which I’ve been reading for years. Patently-O is a blog about patents which I read occasionally — I must admit that my interest in comics pre-dates my interest in patents. It (Patently-O) has a link up to a guide to patent damages. I’m not going to recommend to people on PlanetKDE to read it in particular (PlanetFSFE, maybe), but a few things struck me as I paged through it: one, that it’s remarkably readable, for a document produced by the legal profession; two, that it’s a practices guide that is quite concrete in what needs to be done and how things are handled; three, that it doesn’t talk about non-commercial infringement at all, as far as I can tell.

Since patents on software implementations of algorithms and the like continue to be granted in the US — witness HP’s patent on choosing a number base for a given processor or Google’s patent on map-reduce (apply a function to items in a list, then aggregate) — understanding the potential end-results (damages when infringing) is a big deal.

2 Responses to “Overcompensating”

  1. JS Says:

    I wonder if this means that MapReduce implementation will have to be removed from QtConcurrent.

  2. adridg Says:

    Everything depends on just how broad the patent is and whether Google chooses to assert it or not — and I must admit I have not read the patent itself, so I can’t say if QtConcurrent is likely to infringe. (Where “likely” is “my engineer’s perspective on the similarity between what’s claimed and the implementation, which is not a good yardstick for the same judgement made in a court of law”).