Mathematical Digest

Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics
in the Popular Press

"Not for sale," by Joseph Malkevitch. New Scientist, 30 October 1999,pages 50-51.

Can one patent a mathematical idea? A formula expressing a law of nature, suchas Einstein's famous equation E = mc2, is not patentable. But asnew mathematical ideas get translated into commercial software, especially inthe world of finance, companies want to protect their inventions. This articlediscusses some recent examples of such patents and provides insight on a thornyissue.

--- Allyn Jackson