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created: 2010 01 27
updated: 2010 01 27

Google the 'omnipatent'

After four rejections Google obtains the patent on MapReduce.

Patent No. 7,650,331: USPTO Grants Google a Patent On MapReduce
[...] that "represents a specific implementation of well known techniques developed nearly 25 years ago." [...] But the very public complaints didn't stop Google from demanding a patent for MapReduce; nor did it stop the USPTO from granting Google's request (after four rejections). [...]

The first question is obvious: why this change from the USPTO?
The answer would be obvious as well, but we prefer to think that this change is due to the fact that Google is a sort of God (the only difference between God and Google is that Google exists) and the USPTO suddenly saw the light!

Let's have a look at Google's document:
MapReduce: Simplified Data Processing on Large Clusters

Impressed? Converted?
Or simply you don't believe in "Goodle" and you know clearly that MapReduce is a software design pattern?
Yes, a design pattern, an architectural one, nothing more nothing less.
This kind of pattern has been used for decades, and nobody thought to claim or patent anything.

Do you have to manage a large set of data, stored in key-value pairs, splitting the process into intermediate subroutines?
Are you thinking to balance the load and improve performance computing those subroutines using different computers?
Well, your common, trivial, obvious idea is a patent now and there's a potential lawsuit hanging over you head.

You may think that this is impossible: software design patterns cannot be patented!
A miracle: Google is almighty!

Or maybe are you scared by Google's power?
...Don't worry! Google, like God, cannot be evil!