Q98: Are there any patents on EAs?

Process patents have been issued both for the Bucket Brigade Algorithm in CLASSIFIER SYSTEMs: U.S. patent #4,697,242: J.H. Holland and A. Burks, "Adaptive computing system capable of learning and discovery", 1985, issued Sept 29 1987; and for GP: U.S. patent #4,935,877 (to John Koza).

This FAQ does not attempt to provide legal advice. However, use of the Lisp code in the book [KOZA92] is freely licensed for academic use. Although those wishing to make commercial use of any process should obviously consult any patent holders in question, it is pretty clear that it's not in anyone's best interests to stifle GA/GP research and/or development. Commercial licenses much like those used for CAD software can presumably be obtained for the use of these processes where necessary.

Jarmo Alander's massive bibliography of GAs (see Q10.8) includes a (probably) complete list of all currently know patents. There is also a periodic posting on comp.ai.neural-nets by Gregory Aharonian <srctran@world.std.com> about patents on Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs).


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Hitch Hiker's Guide to Evolutionary Computation, Issue 9.1, released 12 April 2001
Copyright © 1993-2001 by J. Heitkötter and D. Beasley, all rights reserved.