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Re: Patents again

From: Abdullah Ramazanoglu
Subject: Re: Patents again
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 01:14:21 +0300
User-agent: Pan/ (As She Crawled Across the Table)

begin  David Kastrup <> dedi ki:
> 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.

Sorry, it was my sloppy writing. What I should have written was "...if an
unknown 3rd party has implemented a patented idea without permission...".

> 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.

With all my due respect to intricacies of patents, I'm still in search of
a solution. AFAICS, there is an obvious, naked potential threat of patent
owners sneaking indirectly their patented ideas into OSS base, waiting for
the right time so that both their patented ideas are proliferated in OSS,
and GNU/Linux is being used in core business by at least half of F1000
companies, and then making a SCO of it. BTW, I don't believe that their
"waiting for the right time" would be an excuse agaist them in the court,
because from legal point of view they became aware of this unfortunate
10-years-long patent infringement affair just last week! No one can
legally blame them for their unawareness and allowing illegal use of their
patented ideas for such a long time.

Am I mistaken here, or is there anything that can be done to thwart this
threat? To put it better, the whole idea with the original thread in
comp.os.linux.advocacy was to ponder about the software patents issue.
There were several ideas, albeit naive perhaps, such as "OSPO", "GPP",
etc. Could they be worked into good defense mechanisms, or are there
better mechanisms which I'm not aware of?

At this very instant, my understanding is that OSS appears to be a sitting
duck, wringing its wings in worry, braced itself for the inevitable to
occur. Not a particularly relief to me. Please you expert folks say
something relieving on this, or let's start pondering and working on a
contingency plan, if there's not one already.

Abdullah        | aramazan@ |
Ramazanoglu     | myrealbox |
________________| D.0.T cöm |__

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