Jim Simons did not invent the atomic clock. That achievement came a full 29 years before Simons—who is, after all, a mathematician and not a physicist, and anyway was only 11 at the time—founded Renaissance Technologies. But it certainly would have been helpful if he, as a precocious Brookline schoolboy, had done so, because then RenTech wouldn’t be having such difficulties keeping other hedge funds’ hands off its anti-high frequency trading nuclear weapons.

The secretive fund, founded by mathematician and former code breaker Jim Simons, was refused the British application because patent officials found it to be nothing more “than an administrative step regarding the timing of transactions….”

“The invention solves this technical problem by providing a technical solution,” [RenTech lawyer Nick] Zweck said. “A new physical arrangement of hardware is more than just a method of doing business.”

But lawyers for the patent office said that the arrangement of the servers near the exchanges, whether they be in New York, London or Hong Kong, simply circumvents time lags rather than reduces them with a new invention.

If only the system had somehow involved giant vats of piss.

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Renaissance Technology’s Atomic Clock Trading Algo Fails to Get U.K. Patent [Bloomberg]

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