## Are you sure?

This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

Trademark Office Washington, DC 20231 Dear Commissioner: Along with many other computer scientists, I would like to ask you to reconsider the current policy of giving patents for computational processes. I find a considerable anxiety throughout the community of practicing computer scientists that decisions by the patent courts and the Patent and Trademark Office are making life much more difficult for programmers. In the period 1945-1980, it was generally believed that patent law did not pertain to software. However, it now appears that some people have received patents for algorithms of practical importance--e.g., Lempel-Ziv compression and RSA public key encryption--and are now legally preventing other programmers from using these algorithms. This is a serious change from the previous policy under which the computer revolution became possible, and I fear this change will be harmful for society. It certainly would have had a profoundly negative effect on my own work: For example, I developed software called TeX that is now used to produce more than 90% of all books and journals in mathematics and physics and to produce hundreds of thousands of technical reports in all scientific disciplines. If software patents had been commonplace in 1980, I would not have been able to create such a system, nor would I probably have ever thought of doing it, nor can I imagine anyone else doing so. I am told that the courts are trying to make a distinction between mathematical algorithms and nonmathematical algorithms. To a computer scientist, this makes no sense, because every algorithm is as mathematical as anything could be. An algorithm is an abstract concept unrelated to physical laws of the universe. Nor is it possible to distinguish between "numerical" and "nonnumerical" algorithms, as if numbers were somehow different from other kinds of precise information. All data are numbers, and all numbers are data. Mathematicians work much more with symbolic entities than with numbers. Therefore the idea of passing laws that say some kinds of algorithms belong to mathematics and some do not strikes me as absurd as the 19th century attempts of the Indiana legislature to pass a law that the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is exactly 3, not approximately 3.1416. It's like the medieval church ruling that the sun revolves about the earth. Man-made laws can be significantly helpful but not when they contradict fundamental truths. Congress wisely decided long ago that mathematical things cannot be patented. Surely nobody could apply mathematics if it were necessary to pay a license fee whenever the theorem of Pythagoras is employed. The basic algorithmic ideas that people are now rushing to

patent are so fundamental, the result threatens to be like what would happen if we allowed authors to have patents on individual words and concepts. Novelists or journalists would be unable to write stories unless their publishers had permission from the owners of the words. Algorithms are exactly as basic to software as words are to writers, because they are the fundamental building blocks needed to make interesting products. What would happen if individual lawyers could patent their methods of defense, or if Supreme Court justices could patent their precedents? I realize that the patent courts try their best to serve society when they formulate patent law. The Patent Office has fulfilled this mission admirably with respect to aspects of technology that involve concrete laws of physics rather than abstract laws of thought. I myself have a few patents on hardware devices. But I strongly believe that the recent trend to patenting algorithms is of benefit only to a very small number of attorneys and inventors, while it is seriously harmful to the vast majority of people who want to do useful things with computers. When I think of the computer programs I require daily to get my own work done, I cannot help but realize that none of them would exist today if software patents had been prevalent in the 1960s and 1970s. Changing the rules now will have the effect of freezing progress at essentially its current level. If present trends continue, the only recourse available to the majority of America's brilliant software developers will be to give up software or to emigrate. The U.S.A. will soon lose its dominant position. Please do what you can to reverse this alarming trend. There are far better ways to protect the intellectual property rights of software developers than to take away their right to use fundamental building blocks. Sincerely, Donald E. Knuth Professor Emeritus

- 8
- Untitled
- overview and organsisation
- smt 3301c journal
- Msri Presentation
- chapter1algoritms
- faith-basedteachingandlearning
- fulltext
- Visualizing B-Trees Using Signed Information
- Cabeau v. Pavacic - Complaint
- Small Plant Manage 00 Amer
- Psychology of Invention
- Butler v. Steckel, 137 U.S. 21 (1890)
- Kraemer_Sybille_Bredekamp_Horst_2003_2013_Culture_Technology_Cultural_Techniques_Moving_Beyond_Text.pdf
- India's Lost Math Advantage
- Clouding IP v. Dow Jones & Company
- Google Apti Test
- Agne vs. Director of Lands 181 SCRA 46 Page 22
- Clouding IP v. CNN Interactive Group
- mathematics-practice-descrp2
- c Programming Type Statement Expression
- aimswebscreeningtoolsbenchmarkoverviewmath 1
- Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company Vs
- Klausner Technologies v. Mutare
- 76292560 Electric Machines and Drives 105
- Matematik Tambahan percubaan spm kertas 1
- SSRN Id2137014 Patent Law's Audience
- Adams v. Bellaire Stamping Co., 141 U.S. 539 (1891)
- Weekly Report 63
- br3-u4

- As 2805.5.1-1992 Electronic Funds Transfer - Requirements for Interfaces Ciphers - Data Encipherment Algorith
- Analysis & Design Algorithm MCQ'S
- tmpCB3F.tmp
- tmpAA72
- Scheduling Resources In a Hetero-Gene Cloud Using Genetic Algorithm
- Content-Based Image Retrieval Using Features Extracted From Block Truncation Coding
- tmpDF60.tmp
- A Survey on Gesture Recognition
- Hashing Algorithm
- UT Dallas Syllabus for opre7313.001.08f taught by Milind Dawande (milind)
- tmp8BC6
- Introduction to Multi-Objective Clustering Ensemble
- The Optimizing Multiple Travelling Salesman Problem Using Genetic Algorithm
- UT Dallas Syllabus for cs6363.002.08s taught by Balaji Raghavachari (rbk)
- Appraisal of PSO Algorithm over Genetic Algorithm in WSN Using NS2
- UT Dallas Syllabus for cs3345.501 05s taught by Greg Ozbirn (ozbirn)
- Cluster Analysis Techniques in Data Mining
- Principles of parallel algorithm models and their objectives
- tmp5056.tmp
- A review on Development of novel algorithm by combining Wavelet based Enhanced Canny edge Detection and Adaptive Filtering Method for Human Emotion Recognition
- OCR for Gujarati Numeral using Neural Network
- Voice Recognition System using Template Matching
- UT Dallas Syllabus for cs2305.002 05f taught by Timothy Farage (tfarage)
- Simulation of Single and Multilayer of Artificial Neural Network using Verilog
- A Survey of Modern Data Classification Techniques
- UT Dallas Syllabus for cs3333.001.11s taught by Jeyakesavan Veerasamy (veerasam)
- Comparative Analysis of Optimization Algorithms Based on Hybrid Soft Computing Algorithm
- tmp904.tmp
- UT Dallas Syllabus for opre7313.001.11s taught by Milind Dawande (milind)
- Comparison of different Sub-Band Adaptive Noise Canceller with LMS and RLS

- EFFECTIVE TEACHING STRATEGIES IN PRIMARY MATHEMATICS
- Anisotropic Diffusion Model for Edge Detection
- GOVERNOR
- Kalman Dan Simon
- Survival Models Solution Chapter 2
- Our World May Be a Giant Hologram
- Math Made a Bit Easier
- Pre Calculus Textbook
- BAYES theorem
- Matematik Tambahan Tingkatan 5
- Rescoldos Del Tiempo
- Counterfort Retaining Wall B.C. Punamia 05-Feb-2012
- C2 2009 June Mark Scheme
- Block Diagram Reduction
- Math Ibialacsapsfraction 111128184536 Phpapp01
- Platinum Mathematics Grade 4 Lesson Plans
- IGCSE Mathematics Formula Booklet
- Mathematical Proofs - 3rd Edition - Chartrand
- How to Pass in University Arrear Exams?
- Sample Placement Paper Question TCS
- flow shop scheduling
- Other_Prospectus
- Zhen en Additional Mathematics Project II
- GP skills
- Physics! Unit 01 Packet Energy Transfer Model (ETM) 2013
- Fisika - BSc Physics
- Project Work for Additional Mathemathics Fully)
- CBSE Sample Paper Solutions for Class 11 Mathematics - Set A
- Hp Lab Report Trifilar[2]
- Ratio & Proportion

Sign up to vote on this title

UsefulNot usefulClose Dialog## Are you sure?

This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?

Close Dialog## This title now requires a credit

Use one of your book credits to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.

Loading