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Re: Patents again

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Patents again
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 2004 23:13:23 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/21.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Abdullah Ramazanoglu <> writes:

> [David Kastrup:]
>> I repeat: it does not matter how the patented code "got there".  You
>> can force the patent holder (and everybody else) to retract any copies
>> he had been distributing without complying to the GPL, by including
>> non-licenced patented code.  Regardless of _who_ distributed the stuff
>> with unlicenced patents in it, you can force him to stop that.  Only
>> the patent holder has the additional option of continuing to
>> distribute _if_ he licences the patent for that use.
> If it's indirectly got there, more precisely if an unknown 3rd party
> has stolen a patented code (as it will be presented to the court)
> and it's proliferated in many critical OSS projects, and those
> packages got used in vital parts of every distribution of GNU/Linux,
> thus inevitably used by every GNU/Linux user, then it's not the
> patent owners responsibility to remove the patented code from the
> packages involved.

You are wildly confused.  There is no such thing as "stolen patented
code".  Patents are ways of making _methods_ _public_.  You can't
"steal" what is publicly accessible, anyway.  "Stolen code" matters
not in the area of patents, but of trade secrets (and secrets are the
exact opposite of patents) and copyright.

The patent owner has the right to royalties if code gets distributed
that happens to employ the patented methods, and he can have the
distribution of such code stopped.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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