Google Accused of Trying to Patent Public Domain Technology And Of Ripping Off Hundreds Of Small Inventors



Google Accused of Trying to Patent Public Domain Technology And Of Ripping Off Hundreds Of Small Inventors



Catalin Cimpanu

A Polish academic is accusing Google of trying to patent technology he invented and that he purposely released into the public domain so companies like Google couldn't trap it inside restrictive licenses.

The technology's name is Asymmetric Numeral Systems (ANS) [1, 2], a family of entropy coding methods that Polish assistant professor Jarosław (Jarek) Duda developed between 2006 and 2013.

ANS is a game changer for data compression

Over the years, due to its many advantages, variations of Duda's ANS technology — tANS and rANS — have been adopted in several data compression systems, such as Apple's LZFSE compressor, Facebook's Zstandard compressor, and Google's Draco 3D compressor.

Further, ANS is also currently considered for the coding phase of AV1, an upcoming open video coding format.

Tech companies are choosing Duda's ANS technology because it provides faster compression and decompression speeds with minimal data loss, without the downside of a huge computational cost. Rough estimations show that Duda's ANS is between 3 to 30 times faster when compared to classic Huffman and arithmetic coding techniques used in the past.

It is no wonder that whoever holds an ANS-related patent could be in line for some pretty big royalty fees in the upcoming future.

Google files for ANS-related patent in over 100 countries

One of the first companies that tried to patent ANS-related technology was StoreLeap in the UK, but Duda moved quickly to block the company's application with the UK Intellectual Property Office, nonetheless, the patent is very close to being approved in the US.

Duda is now in for a bigger fight, as the world's most valuable company — Google — has also filed a similar patent application in the US and more than 100 other countries.

The researcher has not taken Google's patent application lightly, calling it a "nice 'thank you' from a multibillion 'don't be evil' corporation to a poor academic whose work they use for free."

Researcher intentionally released ANS into public domain

In a patent application complaint [cached] he filed in the US and with WIPO officials, Duda specifically mentions that he published all ANS research in the public domain to "protect its use from becoming a legal minefield."

Duda also points out that Google was well aware of his work, and he even helped Google's staff implement ANS for video file compression.

The researcher now claims that Google is trying to patent some of the same concepts he shared with the company's engineers.

"The content of this patent application is a direct natural modification of a textbook way for encoding transform coefficients that represent image blocks in video/image compression," the researcher says. "This approach is well known."

"The concerned patent application also briefly introduces well-known basic techniques of ANS [...], used by dozens of people in various public implementations," Duda adds. "While the implementation I have helped them with was for a specific variant of ANS (rANS variant to be exact), this patent application is written in a more general way to restrict free use also of other ANS variants (especially tANS)."

"Despite dubious innovation claims, this application can be seen as a legal risk for both the existing ANS-based image compressors (like GST) and for other parties considering ANS for future image and
video compressors. Therefore, I am requesting the rejection of this application," Duda vehemently asked of USPTO and WIPO in his complaint.

Patent orgs may side with Polish researcher

The International Search Authority [ISA], a WIPO department tasked with searching prior patents, has already sided with Duda on the topic and published a scathing review, calling Google's patent as not comprising "an inventive contribution over the prior art, because it is no more than a straightforward application of known coding algorithms."

Writing on online forums, Duda said he had high hopes when he first reached out to Google.

"There was a moment they gave me hope for a formal collaboration with my University so I could build a team, but then silence ... probably due to this patent application," the researcher wrote.

"[Right now,] Google is not responding, probably currently rewriting the patent - showing its determination to reach this monopoly,"  the researcher told Bleeping Computer via email.

Duda's employer — Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, who often touts the researcher's accomplishments [1, 2] — has also pledged public support for the assistant professor's current efforts to defend his invention.

Google did not reply to a request for comment. The article will be updated with any official statement if the company decides to provide context for its patent application.

The mystery remains surrounding Google's decision to patent something that is in the public domain since 2014.

Catalin Cimpanu

Catalin Cimpanu is the Security News Editor for Bleeping Computer, where he covers topics such as malware, breaches, vulnerabilities, exploits, hacking news, the Dark Web, and a few more. Catalin previously covered Web & Security news for Softpedia between May 2015 and October 2016. The easiest way to reach Catalin is via his XMPP/Jabber address at For other contact methods, please visit Catalin's author page.



Google accused of racketeering in lawsuit claiming pattern of trade secrets theft


By Ethan Baron | | Bay Area News Group


MOUNTAIN VIEW — In an explosive new allegation, a renowned architect has accused Google of racketeering, saying in a lawsuit the company has a pattern of stealing trade secrets from people it first invites to collaborate.

Architect Eli Attia spent 50 years developing what his lawsuit calls “game-changing new technology” for building construction. Google in 2010 struck a deal to work with him on commercializing it, and  Attia moved with his family from New York to Palo Alto to focus on the initiative, code-named “Project Genie.”

The project was undertaken in Google’s “Google X” unit for experimental “moonshots.”

But then Google and its co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin “plotted to squeeze Attia out of the project” and pretended to kill it but used Attia’s technology to “surreptitiously” spin off Project Genie into a new company, according to the lawsuit.

Now Attia has added another allegation to the suit: the Mountain View tech giant’s theft of his intellectual property follows a pattern that makes Google guilty of racketeering.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This week, a judge in Santa Clara County Superior Court approved the addition of racketeering claims to the lawsuit originally filed in 2014.

Attia’s legal team uncovered evidence that Google had engaged in a “substantially similar fact pattern of misappropriation of trade secrets,” according to a July 25 legal filing from Attia.

Google would solicit a party to share with it highly confidential trade secrets under a non-disclosure agreement, conduct negotiations with the party, then terminate negotiations with the party professing a lack of interest in the party’s technology, followed by the unlawful use of the party’s trade secrets in its business,” Attia said in the filing.

Six lawsuits against Google, most resolved in the company’s favor, show a similar pattern of intellectual property theft, the filing claims.

Google, Page and Brin “have been engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity for over the past 20 years,” Attia’s lawyer Eric Buether said in a court filing.

Check back on this developing story…



Google a bigger threat to U.S. Than North Korea?

Criticizing Google may have cost these scholars their jobs, but they’re only getting started



Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

By Patrick Kulp

You have to be a little flattered when a company as powerful as Google feels the need to go after you.

"I think of it as a great compliment," said Matthew Stoller, a fellow with Citizens Against Monopoly, a newly launched nonprofit organization. "What Google did is a reflection of their intellectual beliefs and their strength. You don't suppress information if you're winning the debate."

Citizens Against Monopoly is new because Stoller and a group of his colleagues were recently fired from their old jobs at New America, a left-leaning think tank that had been home to the Open Markets program led by prominent academic Barry Lynn. 

The New York Times reported that the move came after Eric Schmidt, Alphabet's executive chairman, expressed displeasure with some of Lynn's recent work. Alphabet, which owns Google, is a major funder of New America. The search giant had complained about Lynn multiple times, and in emails reported by the Times, his boss warned him that he was endangering the group's relationship with the company.

Google and New America both denied that the company played a part in the decision to cut Lynn's team, though the statement from the latter didn't include any details that conflicted with the Times story.

"We don’t agree with every group 100 percent of the time," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "While we sometimes respectfully disagree, we respect each group’s independence, personnel decisions and policy perspectives."

In one sense, the episode is a bittersweet testament to the new level of influence the program's work was starting to enjoy among Washington lawmakers. When Democrats unveiled their grand economic strategy to fight Donald Trump earlier this summer, the fight against monopoly power was a central plank.

Trump's rise may have been the direct impetus for this shift, but most of the ideas can be traced back to the Open Markets team. In an interview with The Atlantic earlier this year, congressman Ro Khanna, a freshman Democrat representing Silicon Valley, cited the writing of Stoller and his colleague Lina Khan as the inspiration for a monopoly-focused caucus he's organizing in the House.

"Their work has gotten the attention of some of us in Congress that we need to reorient antitrust policy," Khanna said.      

It's easy to see why Google would be worried. In June, the European Union hit Google with a landmark $2.7 billion fine for abusing its market power, the biggest antitrust penalty in the EU's history. (A celebratory note Lynn posted to New America's site proved to be the final straw in Lynn's clashes with think tank leadership, Stoller confirmed.)

Stoller says the EU's regulatory actions have effectively made Google a public utility in the eyes of the law, which means it's treated more like phone companies or infrastructure than a private enterprise—and therefore susceptible for more stringent regulation. He thinks the United States will inevitably follow Europe's lead in that regard. 

One of the guiding ideas of the antitrust school of thought to which Stoller belongs is that competition law as it's currently practiced in the United States isn't equipped to deal with the unprecedented power of companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon, which naturally trend towards monopolies because of the network effect fostered by the internet.

"We're going to have to choose whether we want to live in a democracy or allow Facebook, Google, and Amazon to continue what they're doing," Stoller said.

As antitrust law is interpreted now, deals and mergers are reviewed solely on the basis of whether or not they immediately harm consumers. This narrow consensus took hold around 1980, and it replaced the more robust regulatory regimen that had been in place since the New Deal.

Stoller and his colleagues believe that concentrated market power is at the center of many of the political problems faced in the country today, and the only solution is a return to the 20th century tradition that accounted not just for short-term consumer welfare but jobs lost, small businesses killed, long-term effects and other factors.

"Concentrated corporate actors are driving a lot of the anger and frustration [of today's political climate]," Stoller said. "These are the people that organize our economy. These are the people that value things, buy things from you, mediate information, hire you, furnish you with capital it’s not everything but it’s how it works in America." 

As for the average voter, the best thing you can do is learn about the wide-reaching effects of market competition, he says.

"You have to actually educate yourself as citizens on how to organize political power in a democracy," Stoller said.   






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[–] waffleman 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

so that means they are going to get rid of all the ISIS and left wing extremist videos? right? oh wait, that would be silly. I'll bet they mean all of the extreme Trump videos.

[–] GIF-lLL-S0NG 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

They already do this for TV/Movies. It is called content-ID. why not do it for everything? Censorship Creep.

[–] rjbrash 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Meaning if you do not agree with progressive ideals, you are gone. Doom on them all.

[–] Crawdadie17 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Time for a new Internet. Is that possible? Someone with tech experience could you chime in. I don't know how the internet works. Is it just google removing shit from search results. Would just using different search engines work?

[–] XPS 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

They are talking about policing content on their sites. So whenever they block youtube videos for copywrite, now it will also be for whatever content they decide is now verboten. Given what we saw during the last year you can imagine what that will be.

[–] Crawdadie17 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

What it looks like the sjws are gonna have their sites then then the opposition. Reddit vs voat Twitter vs gab and so on. Man what a fucking time to be alive. The world became so tiny in such a small time. Even if ya just want to mind your own fucking business. Someone will always be right behind you poking you with a stick.

[–] derram 0 points (+0|-0) ago :

Web giants to cooperate on removal of extremist content | Reuters



Author: nhji8jHT44Fooophn

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