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Re: Patents again

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Patents again
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 2004 00:24:37 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/21.3.50 (gnu/linux)

Abdullah Ramazanoglu <> writes:

> 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.

Uh, you are still under the delusion that any covertness is required
here.  You don't forfeit patent claims by not defending them for a
while (unlike trademarks).  And the distribution of GPLed code without
licence to patents in it is illegal, but it is not illegal because of
a breach of the patent, but because of a breach of the GPL!

The copyright owner of the GPL can ask people to stop distributing the
stuff, and the patent owner can ask people to pay royalties when they
_use_ the software.

> 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?

Software patents basically are a quagmire, I am afraid.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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