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Google Patents Caching MLK Day Search Results

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the collecting-the-dreams dept.

Google 113

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!"

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U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (5, Interesting)

TechGuys (2554082) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (2)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714036)

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:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714106)

Yes, don't blame Google, Android is open! Google is just doing what they have to, right guys? Right?

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38716762)

Getting these ridiculous patents is lamentable, but not horrific. Using them to squelch the competition is obscene and unacceptable. If/when Google starts patent trolling using these patents, we will know Google is being evil. Until then, it seems to be a necessary act to survive in a world with companies that troll their patents (e.g., Microsoft and Apple, who have been evil with their patents). You don't need to apologize for Google when they haven't abused the system yet.

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (3, Interesting)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714130)

Technically, it's the creators of the patent system's fault for not envisioning the internet, search engines, code base, or virtual data. You can then go on to blame the government for not having a better system for revising the patent's system's faults. Or you can do nothing...

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714066)

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]

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (4, Insightful)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714708)

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)

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715144)

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

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38716098)

I don't remember a similar argument about Microsoft. Bill gates started this patenting drive in the late 90s and Microsoft has been screwing competitors illegally since before then.

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714798)

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...

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (2)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715114)

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".

Wrong solution (2, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714396)

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 problem with obviousness, the solution is better examination, not "let's exempt an entire industry".

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714778)

If it is so obvious, why didn't you patent it first?

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715302)

Because there are zillions more obvious stuff than nonobvious stuff. So if he's a smart person busy working on lots of nonobvious stuff and patenting some of it, he might not have time to patent the obvious stuff.

Isn't even that obvious to you? I guess nowadays the level of stupidity is so high that most people don't find obvious things obvious anymore.

You think the people who came up with this: http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/Lucy_Cherkasova/projects/gdfs.html [hp.com]
wouldn't be able to _easily_[1] come up with Google's algorithm if they were ever hired by a search engine company and had a similar problem to solve?
[1] easy = takes them a day or two to think of the rough idea. Do you really want to award a government granted monopoly on a method of doing things for two decades just because some bright spark needs to take a few days to figure it out? Unless that bright spark is the ultimate genius you are doing the other bright sparks in the world a disfavour if they ever need to solve the problem- because now the problem doesn't take 3 days to solve, it takes weeks or months to negotiate a license/settlement. So tell me how this actually results in net progress?

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715686)

So you're saying the researchers at HP are not experts in their field? I'd like to see you do better. If the test for obviousness was "an expert in the field..." then no patent would ever be granted. Search cache algorithms are not trivial.

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (2)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715128)

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 nature would dictate taking advantage of the situation?

Re:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (1)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715290)

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:U.S. needs to get rid of software patents (1, Insightful)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715464)

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.

China copys alot of stuff from the USA right now (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717602)

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

Idea!! (0)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713946)

Can I patent patenting patents? Then all you suckers gotta pay!

Re:Idea!! (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713974)

No, but you can patent misleading and irrelevant headlines! Did you know Google is going to patent having employees named "Martin Luther King", soon? What about customers with the same name? No? Slashdot can fix that!

Re:Idea!! (1)

ameen.ross (2498000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713982)

Too late, the patenting office already did that, and making lots of $$. Nice try though!

Re:Idea!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714910)

What about patenting patent patenting patents?

Re:Idea!! (2, Funny)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714002)

"Your honor, you can clearly see in Xzibit A that we have patented patenting patents..."

Re:Idea!! (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714820)

Yo dog, I hurd you liek patents.

So I patented the process of patenting patents so you can get sued while you sue.

Re:Idea!! O/T (0)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714320)

This is O/T, burn some of my positive karma if you need to guys. DW, regarding your sig. You do realise that the spot in user info for WoW names is the CHARACTER name, which can't be directly linked back to the account login? Unless you're silly enough to use your login name as your main character name.

Re:Idea!! O/T (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714652)

I think hes just incredulous that the option exists.

Does this mean (0)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38713972)

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

hmm, patent-commenting system (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38713992)

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..

Re:hmm, patent-commenting system (4, Insightful)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714328)

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..

Then submit it to the patent office as prior art, patent it yourself and start claiming royalties.

Re:hmm, patent-commenting system (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715406)

Sans the "patent it yourself" part. I recently started the process of publishing my own thesis; one thing the university actively encouraged me to consider was delaying the release date so as not to infer with pursuing a patent on some of the material.

I told them where to stuff it - I don't think mathematical truths, no matter how clever I might think they are - should be patentable. The point remains: once the thesis is published, that counts as prior art against any patent I might pursue. I imagine there's some short window where I could still go after it - but I don't think 1997 would be included in that window.

Still - requesting re-exam and invalidation based on previous work would be a noble pursuit for citizen-technologists.

ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714022)

i'm going to patent a software idea that will submit patents to the patent office, also functions to print software patent ideas out onto paper. e.g. word

Way to be racist slashdot... (3, Insightful)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714024)

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.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (4, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

There's black people, and then there's n (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714112)

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.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714886)

MLK in Austin is actually quite nice.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (3, Funny)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714186)

That's what I assumed, too. Perhaps we don't have the necessary cultural context to get the joke. In my area they say you don't want to live / park on streets named after trees, which may be a similar idea.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#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".

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715746)

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

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

xswl0931 (562013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715826)

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

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38716344)

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.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38716954)

yes, I meant "black". It was a lame attempt to refer to this [youtube.com]

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

Oswald (235719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714318)

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

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (2)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714352)

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.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714432)

There's a street named MLK Blvd in basically every major city in the US. Do all of these cities happen to coincidentally have the "bad neighborhood" on streets with the same name, or do racists say, "hey, there's the street named after the famous black civil rights leader, must be a 'bad' neighborhood".

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (4, Informative)

Oswald (235719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714822)

Neither. Given the widespread white racism at the time of King's death, it was politically impossible to rename any street held dear by the white majority to honor the man. Pretty much without exception, MLK Blvd runs through a black section of town. Economic realities being what they are in the U.S., that section is frequently run-down.

Sucks, but that's how it is in the places I've been.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

JeanPaulBob (585149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718612)

The MLK Jr. Blvd here in Austin, TX is an interesting exception. When Austin faced the decision to rename 19th St to honor MLK Jr, the political realities that you mentioned were overcome when an African-American community leader literally died of a heart attack in 1975, in the middle of a speech advocating the renaming.

It had been recommended that, west of I-35, the street should remain "19th St". It would only be renamed in east Austin--Austin's "minority district". East Austin would honor Martin Luther King, Jr.; central Austin would not. Dr. J J Seabrook (African-American pastor and president-emeritus of Huston-Tillotson University) was arguing before the city council that the entirety of the street should be renamed. In the middle of his speech, he suffered a fatal heart attack.

The council voted to rename the street across its entire length.

Last year, the MLK Jr Blvd bridge across I-35 was named in honor of JJ Seabrook.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (2)

Troke (1612099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714482)

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."

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714890)

I didn't read it as racist, I read it as a childish implication that Microsoft or Google are racist.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715436)

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?

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715944)

"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?"

I was wondering the same thing. Seems to me the submitter had a thinly-veiled point to make, and to prop up his beliefs he cherry picked a 2003 article by a black guy that says that blacks and only blacks are responsible for their condition in life. It's the typical "hey, a black guy even says so, so it must be true for all" argument. Lame.

Re:Way to be racist slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715848)

silly PC nosepicker

Not "software patents" here... (4, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not "software patents" here... (3, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714248)

"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.

Re:Not "software patents" here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714332)

I have a patent on caching influxes of patent applications to alleviate the burden that too many applications puts on the USPTO. Maybe that will help them be more efficient. and when the USPTO applies my patent I will be cashing in on their efforts.

Re:Not "software patents" here... (1)

Anguirel (58085) | more than 2 years ago | (#38716978)

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 obvious. QuickSort, a specific sorting algorithm, is not necessarily obvious, and is certainly not the first sorting algorithm devised. The specifics of how to detect and appropriately promote more recent results to be cached for spikes in activity is not the same as "cache to avoid being overwhelmed by holiday-specific searches". An updated algorithm for detecting surges in activity and how to cache is potentially new and interesting.

Re:Not "software patents" here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38717644)

There is a difference. Your analogy assumes that this plumber is the only one who knows which pipe to hit and that no other plumber knows this or can figure it out. In your analogy the plumber is getting paid for his time. It takes time and gas for the plumber to drive over to your house, inspect the problem, and drive back home or to his next destination. The plumber has opportunity cost, he can be somewhere else working. The plumber has bills to pay. He still has to pay for the costs of his equipment, his rent, his vehicle expenses, etc...

However, if the plumber can prevent my neighbor from figuring out which pipe to bang and banging that same pipe in return for money that would be unacceptable. In this case, the patent is doing the same. If I need to use the following algorithm and I'm perfectly capable of coming up with it on my own, I'm not paying Google to write my software for me. I'm the one spending my time and effort independently coming up with this algorithm and writing the software. Yet, somehow, I might have to pay the patent holder for contributing nothing to my work.

My freedom to independently come up with these algorithms is more important to me than whatever value I allegedly get from someone else having a patent on it. Them getting a patent doesn't benefit anyone except the patent holder. It's not benefiting me. Yet, somehow, patents are supposed to be for the public benefit.

No one is entitled to a monopoly privilege, these laws should exist to benefit the public. I don't see any public benefit coming from this patent. As a member of the public I see more harm done to me than benefit.

Re:Not "software patents" here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38718200)

that story used to make sense when it was about computers, but now that it's about a plumber hitting a pipe just isn't going to have that drastic on an effect

also it should be a car analogy.

Cacheing Should Not Be Patentable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714162)

Something as simple as cacheing should not be patentable. That is utterly ridiculous.

As usual, not a vague patent. (4, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714202)

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!

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (1)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714370)

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.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (4, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714416)

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).

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714508)

The formula consists of basic algebra. For someone who is skilled in math (and I'm not even that skilled in math) devising something like this would be trivial.

Just because you never took a math course above calculus one doesn't mean that something is non-obvious to those who have. Algebra this obvious has been around for quite some time, since Newton or maybe Gauss, we have math capabilities well beyond this today.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715710)

The key isn't just the technique or just the formula. It's using the formula in this particular context. Would you have thought to use that formula in that particular way? Or, more importantly, would one having ordinary skill in the art?

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38716318)

"Would you have thought to use that formula in that particular way? Or, more importantly, would one having ordinary skill in the art?"

Yes.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38716408)

[citation needed]

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38717228)

I was responding to the portion of the comment that said "The non-obvious part is the formula."

and every other aspect in that patent is obvious. Using exponential decay for caching purposes is not patent worthy.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (2)

gayak (745124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714454)

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?

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714660)

"Basically the same" doesn't mean anything. "Exactly the same" would mean something. However, in this case "nothing the same" would be more correct. Stores (smart ones, anyway) do NOT stock up based on short-term trends that are already underway, because they will be stuck with left-over inventory when the trend ends. They stock up on things BEFORE the trend starts. So, since they don't use anything remotely like that formula, your example has nothing at all to do with this patent.

And once again, "obvious" means "obvious" BEFORE you know what the patent claims, not after. For this to be deemed "obvious" it would basically mean that this is the ONLY way to cache.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714746)

"obvious" means "obvious" BEFORE you know what the patent claims

This was obvious before knowing the patent claims. Just because something is obvious after seeing a patent doesn't make it any less obvious before.

"For this to be deemed "obvious" it would basically mean that this is the ONLY way to cache."

Then, by your logic, since there maybe multiple ways to get to the grocery store, none of them are obvious.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714766)

Unless you can prove those stores used the equation N'=N/Df^((T'-T)/Ti) to weight their demand, then your example is not prior art.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714878)

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.

You only think it's non-obvious because you don't recognize the formula for exponential decay.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715050)

That's a problem with IP extremists. I notice that they tend to be the most incompetent commentators. They use poor logic like

"For this to be deemed "obvious" it would basically mean that this is the ONLY way to cache."

What the heck? Really?

They tend to use poor grammar and punctuation. They tend to be ignorant. Chances are this person hasn't taken a math course above (business) calculus one. Yet I'm supposed to expect this lawyer to be an authority over what constitutes obvious work? Really?

The people who advocate stricter IP laws don't tend to be content creators, they tend to be parasite middlemen who want to profit off of the hard work of others. They aren't the bands that worked hard to get as good as they are. They aren't the ones who spent years studying engineering and math. They are the ones with no merit whatsoever, who think something that's obvious to the rest of us is non-obvious just because it's non-obvious to them. To any Ph.D in math, or even anyone who has taken a math course beyond calculus one (and I myself don't even have a degree in math), formulas like this are obvious.

Little does this person realize that having a Ph.D in math means your math capabilities are maybe caught up to the level of math that society has known in about 1960 or 1970. By now, our math capabilities are well beyond that. Yet, this person sees a basic algebraic formula and says "oh, look, math. Non-obvious!!! I took an algebra course once, and it was hard and non-obvious. DURRR!!!".

Do we really want these people dictating to us what constitutes non-obvious work?

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714936)

WTF? You're saying that formula is non-obvious? It's the basic formula for exponential decay. All it does is halve the value of N per Ti time (if Df = 2; if Df is not 2 then Ti is similarly scaled). Search for "exponential decay" and "cache" and see how non-obvious it is ...

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715058)

And why is it obvious that a growing trend decays exponentially, and that that's a good indicator of when a term should be cached? I see many instances where a decay function is used to show when to remove something from cache, but not much for when to add to the cache.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715258)

You're not really reading the patent, are you? It has nothing to do with predicting growing trends. It measures historical data and modulates the significance of older data using a decaying exponential. It triggers only once the trend is already big, and tails off when the trend dies. It is a cache eviction algorithm based on exponential decay; it is neither novel nor non-obvious.

I see many instances where a decay function is used to show when to remove something from cache

Exactly.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715450)

Claims 1, 14, and 15 cover adding to the cache based on a priority queue, where the priority is determined partially by the event count from the formula. Eviction isn't mentioned in the claims, except as claim 13 where it is also stated that the implementation may or may not support removal from the priority queue used.

Short and simple, here's how the patented algorithm works:

  1. Maintain a list of search terms. Each term has an event history.
  2. When an event (search query) happens, add to the history, and recompute the cache priority. Priority follows the decay function.
  3. Maintain a priority queue, where each term's place in the queue is determined by its computed priority.
  4. Select a set of the top terms, and cache those.

It does not mention anything about maintaining a constant cache, removing old trends as they fall off, or reaching some threshold of being "already big". It is a specific method for assembling a cache from an event history according to a particular formula, which happens to be exponential decay.

A different formula (such as one that predicts rising trends, such as annual events or election terms) may be a further improvement, which would not be covered by this patent. If that resultant system were patented, though, it should likely include this patent as a reference, because they are so similar and the later work would be clearly based on this one.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715692)

I still don't see how any of this is non-obvious.

"Maintain a priority queue, where each term's place in the queue is determined by its computed priority.
Select a set of the top terms, and cache those."

That's how caching has worked since caching was first invented.

"6. The method of claim 5, further comprising: transferring the highest priority from the second priority queue to the first priority queue when the priority in the second priority queue is higher than the lowest priority in the first priority queue; and transferring the lowest priority from the first priority queue to the second priority queue when a priority from the second priority queue is transferred to the first priority queue. "

Caching for dummies 101.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715730)

Now you're just arguing for the sake of it. You know damned well that choosing N top terms means having a cache of N entries, and you should be able to work out that the add/evict behaviour implied by this algorithm is that cache entries are evicted as their priority decays, whereas new entries can only get into cache by having actual newly-measured events occur for them because otherwise their priority is monotonically decaying. So cache entries can *only* be added if new events happen, and which element to evict is based on a decaying exponential.

This is an obscure way of explaining how exponentially decaying caches work. You can map it around the set of equivalent algorithms all you like, it doesn't make the underlying algorithm more novel or less obvious, it just makes me work harder having to map it back to the large set of already-published algorithms.

And I guess that's why they explain it that way ... it's a game of let's confuse the patent examiner. Nicely played, Google, nicely played.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38716004)

Now you're just arguing for the sake of it. You know damned well that choosing N top terms means having a cache of N entries

No, he doesn't know that "damned well", because he's not skilled in the art. He'd be a lot more convincing if he'd recognized the formula for exponential decay right off the bat (particularly since it's mentioned in the description; the inventors knew what it was), then argued its non-obviousness. Since he started just by bringing up the formula as if it was "obviously" non-obvious, I conclude he had no idea what he was talking about.

And I guess that's why they explain it that way ... it's a game of let's confuse the patent examiner. Nicely played, Google, nicely played.

Or, possibly, the "inventor" really did re-invent it without realizing it had been done before. Obvious things are obvious, and it's possible this particular person hadn't run across the solution before.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38716316)

I'll try in the future (defined as a segment commencing from the current position in temporal dimensions continuing in the most common direction of travel) to include (by use of parenthetical notes relating tangentially to the point of discussion) every detail, with little (though some, for the sake of clarity and brevity) regard (which is similar to consideration, but differing in perspective and decision-making weight) to relevance (relation to the main topic of discussion) when posting (or submitting, transmitting, or conveying) to Slashdot (a news feed and discussion forum operated by GeekNet, Inc. featuring a primarily green appearance and focus on the "nerd" (relating to technology, pop culture, and science) culture (or the people who associate themselves with the "nerd" (relating to technology, pop culture, and science) stereotype (a widely held but fixed and oversimplified (made generic, or reduced to the point of inaccuracy) image (metaphorically, as people are physical (tangible, being comprised of matter) objects, not photographic (relating to recorded (not to be confused with a record, which is recorded audio, or a recorder, which is a musical instrument) pictures) images) or idea of a particular type of person or thing)).

That's much clearer now that every irrelevant detail is repeated, right?

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715440)

"but not much for when to add to the cache."

When something gets removed from cache it's to make room for something new to enter into cache. The reason things get removed from cache is because there is only so much one can store in cache and one needs to make room for new stuff. So every instance of a decay function being used to remove something from cache is an instance of that function being used to add something to cache as well, since the removal of something old provokes the addition of something new.

So the summation of your contribution amounts to "I copied and pasted some math formula on a patent and thought it was non-obvious because it's math. I mean, I can't even recognize exponential decay. Someone pointed out to me that this is the formula for exponential decay and that it's obvious and that I should Google search exponential decay and caching. So I did and I found a bunch of instances of this. I'm still clueless how any of this works, but my last attempt was a failure so let me try something new this time, hoping that this new comment will stick with the audience. If I keep trying, maybe something will stick, who knows".

Instead, why not actually take some time to study some math and programming. Try taking a few more math courses and some programming courses. Stop guessing and hoping something sticks. It's not helping your position. If you want to talk to a crowd of geeks about technical matters, it kind of helps to first know what you're talking about. At least show some indication that you put even a tiny bit of effort into knowing what you're talking about. Stop further proving to us that those who hold your position are simply lazy and simply want to find ways to profit off of the hard work of others.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715858)

When something gets removed from cache it's to make room for something new to enter into cache.

Or to shut down a cache server to lower costs, or to prepare for a major operation using shared resources, or because the old item is known to be unneeded.

I mean, I can't even recognize exponential decay.

I did recognize it, but it's irrelevant that the particular formula is exponential decay. It could have been anything, and my point still stands: The patent is specific to the use of one particular method. In fact, if the patent were just about that particular formula modeling exponential decay, that'd be worse, since patents can't cover mathematical truths. You can't patent that 1+1=2, or e^(i(pi))+1=0. That's one of the basic arguments about software patents, since software reduces to mathematical algorithms. To argue that this patent is obvious because the formula used is well-known is like claiming a machine can't be patented because it uses a gear, and every mechanical engineer knows what a gear is.

I should Google search exponential decay and caching. So I did...

Yes, I did. I'm familiar with exponential decay. I'm familiar with caching. I have used both regularly in my 17 years of software engineering history. Until now, I have not monitored recent developments in the related theories, so there may very well be a famous paper from 2005 that I missed, that would describe this patented process specifically using decay to model growth. That would make this patent more obvious, but I see no such thing.

Stop guessing and hoping something sticks. It's not helping your position.

Stop being condescending and throwing ad hominem attacks like confetti. It's not helping your position.

At least show some indication that you put even a tiny bit of effort into knowing what you're talking about.

At least show some indication that you put even a tiny bit of effort into learning how patents work, and specifically that patents cover specific implementations, rather than just "use tool X on Y to get Z".

Stop further proving to us that those who hold your position are simply lazy and simply want to find ways to profit off of the hard work of others.

Stop further proving to us that those who hold your position are simply lazy and assume all patents are vague and obvious without understanding the specific implementation.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38716420)

"Or to shut down a cache server to lower costs, or to prepare for a major operation using shared resources, or because the old item is known to be unneeded."

This discussion obviously falls within the context of caching. Now you're just being disingenuous.

"At least show some indication that you put even a tiny bit of effort into learning how patents work"

They work such that something that shouldn't be patented somehow got a patent. That needs to change.

"and specifically that patents cover specific implementations, rather than just "use tool X on Y to get Z"."

Which doesn't negate the fact that this doesn't deserve a patent.

"Stop further proving to us that those who hold your position are simply lazy and assume all patents are vague and obvious without understanding the specific implementation."

Just because something is a 'specific implementation' doesn't make it any less obvious. There can be more than one way to get to the grocery store yet I may choose one specific route. Doesn't mean I now deserve a patent.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38716578)

I'm sure you can tell us what your credentials are that makes you the qualified decider of what does and doesn't "deserve" a patent.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38717232)

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another round of Feed The Trolls! Tonight's episode looks to be particularly entertaining, as we have what appears to be a pair of mating Anonymous Cowards teaming up against our host, Sarten X! Now, as is customary, we'll give the first-round advantage to the Troll team...

This discussion obviously falls within the context of caching. Now you're just being disingenuous.

Stating that the formula is obviously exponential decay is apparently requisite for showing that I know what I'm talking about. Showing that removal from a cache isn't always because of new items coming in is "disingenuous". That's a double standard, being used for not one, but two ad hominem attacks to shy away from the real issue stated in the original post: that this patent covers a specific caching algorithm, and has practically nothing to do with Martin Luther King, Jr.

They work such that something that shouldn't be patented somehow got a patent. That needs to change.

Misdirection at its finest. What grants you the unquestioned ability to determine whether something gets a patent? Where is the proof that this should not get a patent? Is there any prior art demonstrating a cache system where the decisions are based on a priority queue, where priorities are decided by the exponential decay function?

There can be more than one way to get to the grocery store yet I may choose one specific route. Doesn't mean I now deserve a patent.

Actually, it does, if your route involves something novel and non-obvious, like using a rocket-powered jetpack to avoid traffic. Sure, every aeronautics engineer knows the principles of rocketry. Most local folks can tell you which direction the grocery store is in. Combining the rocketry and navigation in a novel way and making it work is, according to every bit of patent-related legislation since around the year 1500, worthy of a patent.

Well, those trolls still look pretty hungry, but we'll have to wait and see if they come back for more. Tune in next week as Sarten X takes on the Reddit karma-whores, with his controversial argument that pug puppies' cuteness is, in fact, deniable.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38717934)

"Stating that the formula is obviously exponential decay is apparently requisite for showing that I know what I'm talking about. Showing that removal from a cache isn't always because of new items coming in is "disingenuous". That's a double standard, being used for not one, but two ad hominem attacks to shy away from the real issue stated in the original post: that this patent covers a specific caching algorithm, and has practically nothing to do with Martin Luther King, Jr."

There is no double standard, the exact point is that we're discussing caching, we're not discussing taking things out of the cache as a result of turning off the router or something completely irrelevant. What you did was misleading and disingenuous, AKA: trolling.

Yes, the old item is known to be (less)needed as a new one, that's what caching is. Old items are removed from cache so that new (more needed) items can have room to enter. Nothing novel there.

"What grants you the unquestioned ability to determine whether something gets a patent?"

No one said this 'ability' is unquestionable. The argument is that patent laws apply to everyone, including me, so everyone (including me) has a say in what deserves a patent. and I say this doesn't. and a representative government should represent me as well as everyone else, not just IP extremists. But a representative government can't know my opinion if I don't express it.

"if your route involves something novel and non-obvious"

I was responding to the argument that just because something is a 'specific implementation' and there are more than one possible implementations, that it's therefore patentable.

ie: the quote

"For this to be deemed "obvious" it would basically mean that this is the ONLY way to cache."

Among others. You are arguing with poor logic and when your argument gets refuted, you argue against a response to an argument not made.

Re:As usual, not a vague patent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38715314)

Look at who the patent belongs to: Google

If Google patents something, then it is because either it is innovative and inventive, or they are preventing a more nefarious company like Microsoft or Apple from getting the patent and using it for evil purposes. Google gives back to the community and works to make the world better, they do not file lawsuits or attempt to enslave people to their services. At this point, Google has proven themselves trustworthy and I don't see why we all shouldn't be okay with any of their patent filings. Google is the one company I feel safe saying they should be rubber-stamped.

I am ok with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714236)

because I trust and believe in Google. They would not be patenting this without good reason, and I look forward to seeing the innovative improvements they make to their services with patents like these. This is not like obvious troll patents made by Microsoft or Apple for the purpose of stifling creativity and stealing money from consumers.

you can not miss this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714340)

Hey guys, you should not miss this wonderful place----casualmingle. 'com ----which is for seeking casual, intimate or short-term relationship. enjoy and hook up with your right one at once!

April 1 Patents ? (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38714450)

Isn't it a little early for April 1 Patents [ietf.org] .

Cost of patents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38714800)

How much do these stupid random patents actually cost a company? Is this a, "I will make a patent, not pay for it until someone challenges it, then I will pay for it by suing them?" Who gets the money? Where does it go?

The post-Taco decline is faster than I expected (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715014)

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.

What good is this anyway? (1)

azcoyote (1101073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715088)

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 the first person searches it, and keep the cache as long as people are frequently searching it.

Re:What good is this anyway? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715492)

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.

About to go recursive on the patents. (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38715340)

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

Um... Why? (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 2 years ago | (#38716964)

To pay restitution to slave descendants or is thus whitey taking another stab at... well, you know.

Monopoly of a different sort (1)

ragahast (879945) | more than 2 years ago | (#38718856)

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]

Nice of google to leave of the most important part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38719054)

"...judged not by the color of their skin BUT BY THE CONTENT OF THEIR CHARACTER." Funny how the most important part of the quote gets omitted all the time.

Frankly, there's not enough judging of people by their character going on out there if you ask me.

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