Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (4498 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Ballmer: Linux users owe Microsoft
  • From: Saill White <saill@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 09:32:05 -0800
  • Message-id: <45609515.6070605@xxxxxxxx>
On 11/19/2006 07:35 AM, Randall R Schulz wrote:
> On Sunday 19 November 2006 04:31, Anders Johansson wrote:
>> ...
>> Patent violations, of course, don't even need source code access
> How do you figure? Patents are about how something is accomplished as
> much as what is accomplished. They are about specific mechanisms, not
> just specific outcomes.

Anders is right. One doesn't need access to the code to show a patent violation. Copyright violation, yes, because what is copyrighted is that exact text of the code. A patent reserves the right to use described systems and methods. One might, for instance, patent a method of tagging files so that they can be nicely arranged in different views of a shared file system. One doesn't need to see the code in order to notice that someone else's system is doing that. The patent violation may or may not be obvious to the user, but to someone working on interoperability it may become very apparent, even without source code being evaluated.

Here is a list of the US patents assigned to Novell:

You can do this yourself by going here and entering a company name for "Term 1" and choosing "Assignee Name" for "Field 1":

Just for fun, try entering "Microsoft" in Field 1.

Given that a patent examiner is allocated four hours to generate the first response to a patent, a lot of these patents step on each others toes a little, which means in a court of law it comes down to lawyers and judges when deciding who infringed on whom. And lawyers and judges are human and as susceptible to FUD, hype and mass hysteria as the rest of us.

Also lawyers are very, very expensive. Try calling your lawyer and asking how much it would cost for him to prove that the code in your widget doesn't violate a Microsoft patent.


> Randall Schulz

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