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Algorithm Predicts New Superhard Materials 85

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers in New York have developed an algorithm that can predict new superhard materials — a relatively small class of compounds of which diamond is the most famous. Beyond the pluses this represents for, say, the drilling industry, the physicists claim say their computational approach can be used to think up new materials of all sorts. 'New materials with desired properties will be routinely discovered using supercomputers,' they say, 'instead of the expensive trial-and-error method that is used today.'"
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Algorithm Predicts New Superhard Materials

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  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @10:11PM (#37405856)

    Er... not exactly. Adding "using a computer" may sometimes help to make a patent eligible under 35 USC 101, but it generally won't help you with prior art unless the underlying technique is novel or non-obvious.

    A patent can cover a substance itself, and you would have to license that patent during its term if you wanted to use your own novel and subsequently patented technique for synthesizing that substance. In such situations, you might cross-license both patents to each other, so that you can both use the technique to manufacture the substance, especially if your synthesis technique was much more cost-effective than theirs.

    And I'm honestly not sure where you're going with the "second patent on the expiry of the first to get control in perpetuity", since you can't get two patents for the same thing. You could get a patent for a new technique of synthesizing a substance when you had a prior patent on the substance itself, but if someone else comes up with their own technique, you only have the original patent to protect you.

    On a side note, EDTX's lock on patent troll lawsuits may be winding down. One provision in the new patent bill is that you can't join multiple defendants solely because the defendants happened to allegedly infringe the same patent (i.e., through separate unrelated actions). That, combined with other recent case law on venue shopping, will make it a lot easier for defendants to get a change of venue out of EDTX, especially when it's shown that the plaintiff's presence there is superficial.

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle