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LWN.net Weekly Edition for May 16, 2013
A look at the PyPy 2.0 release
PostgreSQL 9.3 beta: Federated databases and more
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(Nearly) full tickless operation in 3.10
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Posted Aug 8, 2012 19:07 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
With copyrights you actually have to copy something to violate it. With a patent monopoly you can violate them whether or not you copy anything. Very soon you can start violating patents even if you created the idea first.\\
So whether or not Linux violates Microsoft's patent monopolies has more to do with how receptive the USA Government patent office is towards Microsoft's money then actual merit and it certainly has nothing to with copying or who invented what.
Even if you created the idea first?
Posted Aug 8, 2012 19:58 UTC (Wed) by Wol (guest, #4433)
Actually, no. You *CAN'T* (lawfully at least, legally in a court is a different thing) infringe a patent if you invent *and* *publish* first.
All "first to file" means is that when arguing over who gets the patent, the date on the application trumps all.
When arguing whether the patent is valid it means NOTHING! So if I publish an idea on the web today, and somebody patents the same idea tomorrow, then according to the law they "filed second" and don't get a patent.
Yes yes, I know reality is different, they'll get the patent and sue me, but the law is clear their patent is invalid. If I were a yank that wouldn't stop me losing my shirt trying to prove that.
(Seeing as I'm a Brit, they'd probably get their head handed back to them on a platter, along with a VERY large bill.)
Posted Aug 8, 2012 20:20 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333)
There is nothing new or American about it. It's what most other countries use.
> Actually, no. You *CAN'T* (lawfully at least, legally in a court is a different thing) infringe a patent if you invent *and* *publish* first.
What the courts decide is what is 'lawfully and legally'. Whether or not this meshes with what you are reading into the law is irrelevant.
In fact it seems that primary purpose of high courts in the USA is to simply convince people that what is obviously illegal or against the spirit of the law is actually 'A-OK'.
> Yes yes, I know reality is different, they'll get the patent and sue me, but the law is clear their patent is invalid. If I were a yank that wouldn't stop me losing my shirt trying to prove that.
You would lose your shirt, your business, your ability to feed and care for your family along with causing everybody that depends on you for their jobs and their retirement to lose their shirts also. Fighting a patent and winning is still losing for the majority of people. This isn't a accident of history or just reflects a inefficiency or accident in the bureaucratic process. I am pretty sure that it's by design.
The best way to fight it is to get the maximum amount of people to acknowledge the illegitimacy of the concept of monopoly ownership of ideas.
Hopefully people will find effective ways to fight new regimes created by patent reform, but at best it's just a band-aid.
Posted Aug 8, 2012 20:23 UTC (Wed) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
and yes, even if you invent it first, and publish it first, if someone else applies for the patent and convinces the patent examiner that your publication is not "prior art" (say it was published after the patent application was filed for example), they can get a patent and you will have to stop using your invention or pay them for the privilege.
"Fileing" is not publication, "Fileing" is submitting a patent application to the government.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 11:23 UTC (Mon) by dps (subscriber, #5725)
IBM has been known to publish things that they think not worth patenting so nobody else can patent them. Some of the things disclosed became worth $$$$$$$ within a few years.
There is at least one instance when a charity, for the cost of a few airfares and hotel bills, managed to stop a vast company backed by the US government getting an EU patent. The airfares paid for travel for somebody who could prove prior art.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 18:04 UTC (Mon) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Now they could also be used to try and disprove the patent applicants claim that this invention is not going to be obvious to people skilled in the art, but that's a harder approach to take.
Posted Aug 13, 2012 20:44 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523)
Posted Aug 13, 2012 22:34 UTC (Mon) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Right now, the old rules still apply.
Posted Aug 10, 2012 8:06 UTC (Fri) by anselm (subscriber, #2796)
The major difference is that Microsoft is probably technically right.
Whatever. The SCO Group made the big mistake of actually suing IBM, but then couldn't come up with reasonable evidence that Linux was copied from their stuff. So far Microsoft, for the most part, hasn't deigned to come up with specific patents of theirs that they think Linux infringes. Creating the impression that they could is much more worthwhile to them.
You don't think that if Microsoft had a patent that could actually stop Linux in its tracks they wouldn't use it? All we have seen so far are actions based on the FAT long-filename patent, filed against small companies like TomTom or companies for which Linux is a tool, not a product – basically trying to spread FUD among corporate Linux users about how they could get in trouble, too. It is quite likely that Microsoft's patent arsenal simply doesn't contain anything heavy enough to tackle the likes of Red Hat or IBM, so Linux should be safe.
Posted Aug 18, 2012 16:23 UTC (Sat) by woooee (guest, #54179)
Posted Aug 19, 2012 0:04 UTC (Sun) by dlang (✭ supporter ✭, #313)
Microsoft didn't "decide to settle" with B&N, B&N decided to settle with Microsoft. They dropped their legal defence and agreed to pay Microsoft some unknown amount of money in exchange for Microsoft dropping the lawsuit.
I was one of those people initially thrilled by B&N standing up against Microsoft. I purchased a nook color to use an an android tablet as a result of the news. But I was very disappointed to see them settle a few months later.
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