The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Patenting math

There's news about that game I wanna play. The news is not good.

Some math-minded botanist Johan Gielis published a "SUPERFORMULA" and some basic pseudocode (= an algorithm - ya'nĂ®, meta-math) a decade ago. Then he filed a patent, on most implementations of that algorithm. These implementations didn't yet, interestingly, include game implementations. He founded a company around that patent too, "Genicap". Even that dubious patent, Gielis and Co. let expire in several countries.

Along comes Hello Games' No Man's Sky, in development for years and with screenshots available also for years. In 2015 Hello's lead programmer Sean Murray gave credit to SUPERFORMULA in an interview and showed off the current game status in a convention. Suddenly Genicap remembers it has a patent and starts saying nice game you got here, hate for it to be delayed again.

If there's a suit it probably won't fly in the US due to the Alice decision, which already says you cannot enforce a math-based patent here. It seems unlikely to fly in most of the (present) EU either. To many it all smells like a ploy for quick hush-money from a soon-to-be-popular game.

posted by Zimri on 17:38 | link | 0 comments

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