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Google Hardware

Google Patent Reveals New Data Center Innovations 82

miller60 writes "'Google is seeking to patent a system that provides precision cooling inside racks of servers, automatically adjusting to temperature changes while reducing the energy required to run chillers.' The cooling design uses an adjustable piping system featuring 'air wands' that provide small amounts of cold air to components within a server tray. The cooling design, which could help Google reduce the power bill for its servers, reinforces Google's focus on data center innovation as a competitive advantage. Check out the patent application and a diagram of the system."
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Google Patent Reveals New Data Center Innovations

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  • The patent doesnt stop some other company from building and using a device exactly like this internally for thier own use. It only stops them from taking the idea and selling a product based on it.

    Yes, it does. There is no such thing as "fair use" in patent law. The owner of a patent has the right to exclude others from making, using, importing, selling, or offering to sell the invention. Those first two stop another company from building and using a device exactly like this internally.

    And yes, I am a patent agent.

  • Hmm, seems you are right...

    our patent system is really screwed up, isnt it?

    Why? Wouldn't it be more screwed up to say "gosh, Mr. inventor, I don't have to pay you for a license, because I'm going to use your invention for my own use"? It would prevent them from selling it - so consumer goods for sale would be subject to patents, but manufacturing machines and assembly line innovations that companies install and then use for 20 years would essentially be up for grabs, license-free. No one would ever invent anything for 'behind the scenes' use unless they're employed by a big company for that purpose... and the big company would never, ever file a patent on it, because any other big company could just make it and not pay them a license fee.

    Essentially what you're proposing is a return to trade secrets. Invent something and don't tell anyone about it. The downside of trade secrets is that they exist for as long as the invention is secret - potentially hundreds of years, such as the formula for Coca-cola. This is as opposed to patents, which are 20 years and then public domain forever. Trade secrets were the primary tool for protecting IP for several hundred years, and as a result, they stifled innovation - every company had to waste time and re-invent the wheel that a company across town invented and kept secret. The mandatory public disclosure scheme of patents solves this problem - the public can't use your invention without licensing it for 20 years, so innovation is stifled... but it's free after that, and in the meantime, the public can freely create improvements on your idea - so innovation is actually encouraged.

    For example, if I patent a stool, and you improve it by adding a back, you've just innovated. And if someone else improves yours by adding arms, they just innovated. And because you and I both published, they can leapfrog on our innovations. This is how the patent system is supposed to work.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter