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4:00pm on Friday, 16th March, 2012:



Universities in the UK are currently preparing submissions for the Research Excellence Framework, which determines whether they swim with the likes of Cambridge or Lincoln. One of the measures this time round is IMPACT, which attempts to ascertain how much effect research has had on the outside world, as opposed to the academic world. As my research seems to have had some such effect, this morning I attended a meeting about filling in forms to impress people with its IMPACT.

One of the things that cropped up in the meeting was the fact that mentions of your work in patent applications by other people was a valid means of corroborating claims of IMPACT. After the meeting had finished, I woke up and hopped on to the Google patent database to see if my name showed up in any of the patents it has stored there.

It turns out that it does. There are 11 patents that mention me. Some of these are in terms of historical context, but others refer to articles I've written describing techniques for doing things.

Damn. I loathe software patents.

I wish there were some way of stopping people from creating patents that use your ideas without having to patent them yourself.

Yes, the reference to Lincoln was an in-joke.

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).