Stob To get some background on the recent move by the US Patent office on the patentability of numbers, The Reg spoke to IP lawyer Lawrence P Po™a®© (pronounced ‘potmarc’) of the distinguished LA firm of Po™a®©, Po™a®© & Po™a®© (pronounced ‘potmarc, potmarc and potmarc’).
"The IP legal community is real excited about this," explained Mr Po™a®© excitedly.
"We were all very, very disappointed when Intel lost its attempt to register the trademark 80486 a decade ago. We have been looking for a way to bring numbers back under sensible legal control ever since that time, and this could well be it.
"It’s kind of hard to predict how things will pan out. Obviously there is no case law at this stage, but you can easily imagine things getting awkward.
"For example, suppose Corporation A was awarded Patent no. n for integer m, at the same time as Corporation B was awarded Patent no. m for integer n. Neither corporation could enforce its own IP rights without violating the IP rights of the other. They would be trapped in a kind of deadly embrace. They’d fight like ferrets in a Yorkshireman’s trousers,” said Mr Po™a®© gleefully.
Top mathematicians say that integers start at 0 or 1 and continue in both directions for a fair old way. The number ‘101’ is a well-known and successful integer, thanks to its popularisation by the doggie-oriented author Dodie Smith in her book 101 Dalmatians and top writer George Orwell’s celeb-based BBC2 show Room 101.
Amazing fact: at today’s exchange rates 101 in binary is now worth just 5 in decimal, following a catastrophic devaluation of binary. ®
© Copyright 2003 Verity Stobb
Five Stob stories on Number Patentability (read them in sequence)
Numbers to be patentable
Patented numbers ‘a good idea’
First integer patented
Softwron shows off its new technology
’Wron number caught in Fermat-defying romp