Even An East Texas Court Has Told Uniloc That It Can't Patent Math

from the there-are-limits,-people dept

Even a notoriously patent-friendly court like the district court in East Texas has admitted that there are limits to what's patentable. Notorious patent troll Uniloc, whose name has been appearing quite frequently lately, has lost one part of its big cases, against Rackspace, after the district court in Tyler, Texas has said one of the patents in question in this lawsuit, US Patent 5,892,697 on a "Method and apparatus for handling overflow and underflow in processing floating-point numbers," is really patenting basic mathematical functions, and you can't do that.
Claim 1, then, is merely an improvement on a mathematical formula. Even when tied to computing, since floating-point numbers are a computerized numeric format, the conversion of floating-point numbers has applications across fields as diverse as science, math, communications, security, graphics, and games. Thus, a patent on Claim 1 would cover vast end uses, impeding the onward march of science.
While this is nice, this is just one patent in that particular lawsuit, and Uniloc has dozens of other patents that it's using in other lawsuits. And Uniloc shows no signs of slowing down. Just the other day it filed 12 new lawsuits.
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Filed Under: east texas, math, patent trolling, patents
Companies: rackspace, uniloc


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  1. icon
    tomxp411 (profile), 1 Apr 2013 @ 8:46am

    Re:

    Patent trolls bring me back around to my original assertion about patents vs lawsuits:

    Copyright law says that if I independently come up with a similar or even identical piece of code/music/writing as someone else, I still get to own and use my creation.

    Patent law says that if I invent something that someone else also invented, the first person to invent it "wins," and the other person loses out on his invention.

    This is wrong, and changing this one thing would be enough to completely fix the patent system.

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