The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME
Posted Jan 19, 2006 4:21 UTC (Thu) by mitchskin
In reply to: The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME
Parent article: The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME
Well AIUI, it means pretty much what it sounds like. Abandoned patent applications don't result in patents. If they miss the deadline due to an unintentional or unavoidable delay, then they can petition to get the application revived. The delay has to be for the whole period they had for replying; an unavoidable delay that crops up in the last week doesn't count.
Sometimes patent applications can be abandoned and continued in a new application (in fact, the one that's about to be automatically abandoned is a continuation of an earlier abandoned application), but you have to file the continuation application before the parent becomes abandoned. In other words, they can't continue after the deadline unless they manage to revive the application. I have a hard time imagining Microsoft showing that they had an unintentional or unavoidable delay, so once the deadline passes I think the chances of them trying to revive the application are pretty low.
In some cases it's possible to try again with a whole new ("substitute") application (even after the original was abandoned), but anyone who does that loses the benefit of the original filing date. The original filing date is important because in the US you have to apply for a patent within a year of publishing the details of the invention. Since Microsoft published the .NET API more than a year ago, they wouldn't be able to start a new application now.
Again, I'm not a lawyer, and this isn't legal advice, but once the deadline passes I personally will feel a lot better about contributing to Mono or any GNOME-oriented project that uses it.
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