Patently Questionable

Originally posted 2005-05-06 08:18:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

We studiously attempt to avoid patents at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION. I’m not a patent lawyer, there are great patent blogs, and, well, PATENTS* are mostly — dare I say? — boring. Let the patent lawyers do the patent blogging. But this morning, I couldn’t resist, since after all we feature all Google IP news, all the time. Reuters “news” service reports that Google trying to patent news ranking by quality. According to the story:

The technology Google is attempting to patent may help the company choose the most reliable information sources, although some Web commentators have said it will create a bias toward mainstream news sources. Google filed its U.S. patent application in September 2003 and it is in line for review by patent examiners. It covers “systems and methods for improving the ranking of news articles” based on the “quality” of the news source.

This is particularly interesting in light of this Daily Pundit item (via Instapundit) questioning whether Google’s editorial control over advertising submission tacks leftward. A number of commenters over there maintain that this political bias has very much creeped into Google News coverage, and so do some people quoted in this CNet story. So this gives one patent-disliking, soft-IP, four-shares-of-Google-owning lawyer to asking of his patent brethren:

If the technology Google is seeking to protect for ranking news by “quality” can be shown to have a political bias, how might that affect its patent claims?

* Clarification! The patent blogs are NOT BORING!

UPDATE: Blogger Rhetorica questions the premise of evaluating the bias of Google news coverage.

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Author:Ron Coleman

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2 Responses to “Patently Questionable”

  1. blogan
    May 9, 2005 at 12:52 pm #

    More interesting (quoting from the news story you reference), look how Google proposes to measure “quality”:

    “the amount of important coverage produced by an identified news source; a human opinion of that source; network traffic to the source; circulation statistics; staff size; breadth of coverage; and the number of bureaus the news source operates”

    The first two are subjective and and thereby subject to to political leanings of the individual making the determination. The latter measures confuse quantity with quality.

  2. Ronald Coleman
    May 9, 2005 at 1:28 pm #

    You’re right. I hope a patent lawyer will weigh in at some point on this question.

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