Novell, buyer's remorse, and the patent threat
Posted Nov 22, 2006 14:28 UTC (Wed) by wookey
In reply to: Novell, buyer's remorse, and the patent threat
Parent article: Novell, buyer's remorse, and the patent threat
The details of exactly what constitutes patent infringement varies by country, but yes, simply using software is often an infringement - i.e. end users can be targeted as well as authors. The rules are different between the US and the UK, for example. This is the best spec I could find for what the actual law is in various places: http://www.answers.com/topic/patent-infringement-2#after_ad1
There is also 'contributory infringement' which is where you supply a part of a patented thing in another country, in an attempt to work round the rules. This is supposed to deal with making parts in the US then shipping them somewhere else where the patent doesn't apply for assembly, but has recently been applied to microsoft 'assembling' all its copies of Windows at a plant in Ireland.
Essentially no-one is safe, although end-users don't have too much to fear due to having little money, and sueing them being very bad publicity (see music industry) - which is why it is very easy for end users, but very hard for distributors, to install assorted media codecs, despite/due to the innumerable patent infringements in them.
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