Software patents no bigger threat to Free Software
Posted Aug 6, 2004 12:31 UTC (Fri) by NRArnot
Parent article: Software patents no bigger threat to Free Software
than to proprietary software
Software patents may be more of a threat to proprietary software.
If you write software as a private individual and make it available for other people to copy, I don't think you can be sued. You aren't infringing, because you aren't using the patented invention for gain. Indeed, unless I'm misinformed, you are quite entitled to build a patented contraption (even working from the patent itself) for personal education or to satisfy curiosity. It's profiting from it that's infringement.
And the people that take copies? Well, if they are using your work for profit then they are infringing. But it's a lot harder to stamp on a zillion small infringers than on one outfit selling proprietary, infringing software for their own gain!
Obligatory disclaimer - I am not a lawyer (and what little I know pertains to the UK, it may not generalise to other countries).
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