Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (2634 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Microsoft ordered to pay Alcatel-Lucent $1.5 bln in patent case - MarketWatch
  • From: Russell Jones <russell.jones@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 12:39:20 +0000
  • Message-id: <45E6C978.3090405@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Rajko M. wrote:
On Sunday 25 February 2007 10:37, James Knott wrote:
some are overly broad, so as to make it difficult to avoid
infringing, if you develop something similar.

That is the whole problem.
I noticed it once reading patent relating thermal printers. While it talks about connection between controller and the termal head, the wording was so broad that any printer that uses serial connection can be put in that context. That makes owner of the patent able to sue anybody in todays world because the USB is serial connection.
When patent was granted the only serial connection was over RS232 (common serial port) and almost no one was using it as it was to slow for the purpose. It seems that in computers and electronics patents have to be granted in a different way:
- for a few years only or - be revisited every year or two for validity of specifications
- claimants has to be asked to be very specific what device is meant to be protected and what specs they protect,
The last will prevent that someone protects 2 MHz 8 bit CPU including, by broad wording, any further development in the future for next 20 years.
Forcing protection on existing technology that company can present, or giving certain short time frame to implement new technology, will bring patents back where they belong - to further development. For instance, if one wants to avoid patent for CPU mentioned above all that is necessary is to develop faster CPU or wider bus.
The problem is that keeping software patents from becoming excessively broad is too difficult, and the system invites corruption. Better for the US to abolish them IMO. What you suggest would improve matters, though.

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