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Subject Google attempts to Patent Use of Public Domain Algorithm
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Original Message At EFF, we often criticize software patents that claim small variations on known techniques. These include a patent on updating software over the Internet, a patent on out-of-office email, and a patent on storing data in a database. Now, Google is trying to patent the use of a known data compression algorithm - called asymmetric numeral systems (ANS) – for video compression. In one sense, this patent application is fairly typical. The system seems designed to encourage tech giants to flood the Patent Office with applications for every little thing they do. Google’s application stands out, however, because the real inventor of ANS did everything he could to dedicate his work to the public domain.

Jarek Duda developed ANS from 2006-2013. When he published his work, he wanted it to be available to the public free of restrictions. So he was disappointed to learn that Google was trying to patent the use of his algorithm. In his view, Google’s patent application merely applied ANS to a standard video compression pipeline. Earlier this summer, Timothy B. Lee of Ars Technica published a detailed article about the patent application and Duda’s attempt to stop it.


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