Google Doesn’t Own PageRank

By Deane Barker on June 26, 2006

Here’s an interesting tidbit I read tonight in John Batelle’s “The Search.”

You know PageRank, the super-secret mojo that makes Google what it is? Google doesn’t own it. Page and Brin came up with it at Stanford, so Stanford owns it.

Google has an exclusive license to it. Until 2011. What happens then?



  1. Google has an exclusive license to it. Until 2011. What happens then?

    Stanford relicenses it to Google until 2021. In unrelated news, The Stanford Brin Library and the Stanford Page Stadium will begin construction about the same time. Also, searching for ‘good college’ will always seems to retrieve Stanford’s home page.

  2. A patent disclosure is just that – a full disclosure of an invention into the public domain. In return, the government gives a limited monopoly to the assignee for a period of time. If the disclosure above is the patent for PageRank, then it isn’t “super secret mojo” any more, as the disclosure is required to describe the invention with sufficent detail that it can be recreated by others “without undue experimentation”. If the “super secret mojo” isn’t in the disclosure above, then that’s either not the patent for PageRank, or Google has created proprietary extensions (aka “super secret mojo”) to PageRank which they own under trade secret law. There is no expiration on trade secrets.

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