Google PageRank Becoming Non Exclusive, At Least The Original Patent Document

Dec 30, 2010 • 9:30 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates
 

If you look at Google's 10-K 2009 filing on Page 15, you will see a statement about when Google's original PageRank patent expires. It reads:

The first version of the PageRank technology was created while Larry and Sergey attended Stanford University, which owns a patent to PageRank. The PageRank patent expires in 2017. We hold a perpetual license to this patent. In October 2003, we extended our exclusivity period to this patent through 2011, at which point our license will become non-exclusive.

Some time in 2011 Google's PageRank patent will become non-exclusive. And then in 2017 the patent will expire completely.

As many of you know, the PageRank algorithm Google uses today is completely different from what it was back when it was first designed. But the fundamentals are the same.

Is Google concerned about this? Page 15 goes on to read:

Circumstances outside our control could pose a threat to our intellectual property rights. For example, effective intellectual property protection may not be available in every country in which our products and services are distributed. Also, the efforts we have taken to protect our proprietary rights may not be sufficient or effective. Any significant impairment of our intellectual property rights could harm our business or our ability to compete. Also, protecting our intellectual property rights is costly and time consuming. Any increase in the unauthorized use of our intellectual property could make it more expensive to do business and harm our operating results.

Companies in the internet, technology and media industries own large numbers of patents, copyrights and trademarks and frequently enter into litigation based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. As we face increasing competition, the possibility of intellectual property claims against us grows. Our technologies may not be able to withstand any third-party claims or rights against their use.

Personally, I think Google will be fine.

Forum discussion at DigitalPoint Forums.

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Comments:

echwa

12/30/2010 04:10 pm

Barry, do you know if this expiry suggests Google will need to iterate a new patent, or series of patents, to pick up where Page Rank left off?

Barry Schwartz

12/30/2010 04:12 pm

Yep.

Chris

12/30/2010 06:04 pm

I don't think Google's ranking algorithm, at this point, is very relevant to their success or their position. Their main advantage, at this point, is their infrastructure. Brin and Page did not just develop a good ranking algorithm, but they also developed storage mechanisms for data recall, which is a significant portion of running a search engine. Supposing you gave some startup Google's exact algorithm, they wouldn't be able to use it because they lack the processing power Google has. That is a very big deal.

AaronL

12/30/2010 07:14 pm

1. "Any significant impairment of our intellectual property rights could harm our business or our ability to compete." 2. "As we face increasing competition, the possibility of intellectual property claims against us grows. Our technologies may not be able to withstand any third-party claims or rights against their use." Is the better approach from a corporate standpoint to lobby for the diminution or abolition of software patents (consistent with point 1)? Or to accumulate so many patents that any competitor who sues over infringement is all-but-certain to face a countersuit, ultimately leading to a settlement and mutual licensing agreement, and otherwise deal with patent trolls as they come along (consistent with point 2), hoping that the benefits of the status quo outweigh the costs of acquiring and defending thousands of patents and defending against more frequent patent litigation? Or am I reading things too generally, with that final sentence being less about patents in general and more about the potential for rival producers of cell phone OS software to get injunctions that hobble Android?

Seo_finder

01/02/2011 09:42 pm

Barry, does this means they'll be no more PR updates?

Old Webmaster

01/02/2011 11:58 pm

We expected a pagerank update in 2010 but nothing changed!

Pakistani music

01/03/2011 03:06 pm

We are were expecting the page rank updation in new year but nothing happens .

clearwebstats

01/05/2011 12:20 pm

suppose if google pagerank is expire, how does google rank the site in day to come, what will happen to startup site?

nazia

02/16/2011 10:02 am

Anyone ever do this? I'm not talking a patent through a company. I'm talking a patent on an invention you come up with, and you personally applied for the patent.

TinyVox

05/07/2012 06:22 am

They had a nice clean look. Thanks google!

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