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From Doug Cutting <cutt...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Clarification regarding inclusion of PageRank in Mahout
Date Tue, 05 Jul 2011 20:24:39 GMT
Sebastian,

I doubt that anyone will give you a clear answer here to your question.

Patents are like landmines hidden in the terrain we developers still
choose to regularly traverse.  Just because there's a patent that
appears similar to some software does not mean that software infringes
that patent; the patent may not be valid or the software may implement
things subtly differently.  The owner may also not choose to seek
licensing fees for their patent.

The opposite may also be true.  If folks are sued for infringement for
their use of Apache software then the ASF would probably stop
distributing that software.  If that scenario seems likely then
investing a lot of effort in an implementation may be unwise.

Doug

On 06/22/2011 10:04 AM, Sebastian Schelter wrote:
> Hello,
> 
> this is Sebastian from the PMC of Apache Mahout writing. We received a
> contribution that includes an implementation of Google's famous PageRank
> algorithm (see https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/MAHOUT-742 ).
> 
> We'd love to include this in Mahout, yet we know that the University of
> Stanford is holding a patent on PageRank (
> http://www.google.com/patents?vid=6285999 ). It seems that this patent
> is not enforced because there are a lot of PageRank implementations
> already available on the internet.
> 
> However we'd like to get clarification on whether we are allowed to
> include this implementation in Mahout.
> 
> I already contacted Prof. Garcia-Molina from Stanford's Departments of
> Computer Science and Electrical Engineering asking for advice who
> helpfully suggested to contact Deputy General Counsel Thomas W. Fenner
> (tfenner [at] stanford.edu) to clarify the legal issues.
> 
> This is my first time working on a legal issue regarding Apache, what is
> the process and what do I have to do to get clarification?
> 
> Thank you,
> Sebastian
> 
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