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Microsoft tried to patent studying evolution

Aug 21, 2009, 20:34 (10 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Howard Owen for this link. ]

"Given the existence of prior art, patent applications that lay claim to widely used methods should be shot down during their application process, but that hasn't stopped even big companies from trying, or the Patent Office for granting them. Microsoft's seen both sides of this problem recently, as it was granted one patent for storing formatting information in XML files, and faced a damaging injunction for violating someone else's patent on the same general thing.

"In a bit of awkward timing, it was recently discovered that, two years ago, Microsoft filed a patent for clustering phylogenetics methods, which have existed for years, and are currently in use by just about anyone who does evolutionary biology. The filing has been compared to attempting to patent multiplication tables, and has the phylogenetics community on edge."

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