Stop the Patenting of Numbers

This is very disturbing news that was brought to my attention on a mailing list I subscribe to.

REDMOND, WA—In what CEO Bill Gates called “an unfortunate but necessary step to protect our intellectual property from theft and exploitation by competitors,” the Microsoft Corporation patented the numbers one and zero Monday.

. . . With the patent, Microsoft’s rivals are prohibited from manufacturing or selling products containing zeroes and ones—the mathematical building blocks of all computer languages and programs—unless a royalty fee of 10 cents per digit used is paid to the software giant. [Source: ONN]

See, that’s the problem with monopolies, as any economist will tell you. And since I am an economist, I am telling you.

This is very disturbing news. Micro$oft is evil and they should not be that evil.

But never mind. All these 1s and 0s is so last century. Scientists at IIT have discovered that by using larger numbers such as 2s and 4s (note that 3s for some reason don’t work) they can get more numbers into the computers. So I am sure that Micro$oft’s patenting of 1s and 0s is not going to halt India’s march to become the technology superpower that people in the Indian government claim that it will be.

Of course, the government of India should immediately sue Micro$oft because India invented the 0 in the first place. So M$ can patent the 1s but not teh zero. Which means that Indians can then use 0s, 2s, and 4s in their computers. That will make Indian computers even more compact. And instead of $35 tablet laptop PCs, the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) in India will be able to make a computer for $1. Soon enough when you buy a samosa, you will get a HRD tablet laptop PC free with it.

Please write to the govt of India to patent teh ZERO!! Write to air-head apparent to get his supporters in tribal areas to protest the patenting of numbers.

Do it NOW!!!

Post script: Sorry, that news item from ONN is old news. Trouble is that my inbox has lots of mail and only now I am caught up with items from March 1998. I expect that by 2050, the date at which India will be a superpower, I would be caught up with my email inbox. Thank you for your understanding.

Author: Atanu Dey


3 thoughts on “Stop the Patenting of Numbers”

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. With every wannabe microsoft filing 100’s of lawsuits against microsoft for IP infringment and actually getting paid too in many cases, I think miscrosoft has gone berserk in thinking of offsetting it this way. If anyone deserves the patent, then he is George Boole. I wonder why cant patents be challenged in courts of law. Patent offices are not a law onto themselves. Just sometime back I was shocked to see SAP AG, a software major that creates business applicatioins to the point of rocket science, actually has thousands of patents for a pieces of code that does nothing more than high school arithmatic that even cavemen knew.


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