Hmm … patenting a market process ….

/. linked to a newly granted patent by Amazon. I am all for good patents, but given the number of … er … not so good ones I’ve read through, as well as obvious rehashing of existing work … I don’t know what to make of this one.

This seems … well … like patenting any instance of a market exchanging money for computer time and/or storage, based upon a pricing model determined by past histories or current demand/availability. Ok, it uses a web service.

But apart from this … This feels … well … overly broad.

Ignore that for the moment. Focus upon what it grants Amazon. Basically the right to license the concept of implementing an instance of a market.


So, my question is, given the direction I see HPC going (deskside supers and remote EC2/Eka like machines), who is going to sue first. Will Amazon start taking public and private clouds to court to secure their ‘rights’ to this ‘invention’? Or, in their own self interest, will Microsoft et al. start going after Amazon to knock this patent over?

Some times in an arms race, you have to have the participants agree that certain weapons are off limits. Biologicals and similar fall into this category. I’d argue that this patent, is roughly the equivalent of a weaponized biowarfare system.

This is bad for a number of reasons. The simplest is as follows.

Once you set up a strategic weapon for which there is no defense, that others cannot replicate, you by definition, invite attack in order for them to disable you from ever deploying this or using this. Otherwise the others have a sword of Damocles over their heads. Given the potential size of this market, and the huge investments many companies are pouring into this …

Yeah, I think there is going to be a rather protracted legal battle over this. Though I am not sure who will do first strike. Lots of lawyers are gonna get rich over this … it will be one very nice wealth redistribution mechanism, from productive technology companies, to lawyers pockets.

Some things are best backed away from. Its hard to convince people that they are at a dangerous cliff edge when they think they have sure footing and an unbeatable weapon.

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