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The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME

The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME

Posted Jan 19, 2006 2:18 UTC (Thu) by louie (subscriber, #3285)
Parent article: The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME

Hopefully this falls into 'constructive criticism', but here goes either way. "What does that mean? Well, ask a lawyer, I guess..." Hello? Hello? You guys are journalists. I pay my subscription to LWN so that you can go out and ask these questions for me. If I wanted completely unfounded bloviations on patent law, I'd go read my own blog :)

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The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME

Posted Jan 19, 2006 4:21 UTC (Thu) by mitchskin (guest, #32405) [Link]

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.

The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME

Posted Jan 19, 2006 9:48 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

No, it does not. The problem with litigations and lawers is that it's impossible to give general answer.

- Can I be sued over this ?
- Sure - it does not even matter what this actually is (see SCO).
- Ok, let's reprase: how high are the risks for my business ?
- Oh, that's different thing - let' talk about your business...

Journalists are not lawyers - and for good reason: they need broad brush and there are not broad brush as far as litigation is concerned...

The .NET API patent, mono, and GNOME

Posted Jan 21, 2006 15:29 UTC (Sat) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

You seem to be implying that this story is almost meritless (more precisely, has as about much merit as one of your blog entries) unless Jon can find a lawyer who will offer a professional opinion on this matter.

The chances of finding an expert lawyer to go out on a limb like that? Slim to none. The smarter she is, the less she will speculate on areas like this that have very little precedent.

Is the story still valuable even without professional intepretation? Absolutely. It's got a lot of good information. Your "constructive criticism" in this case is misguided and unrealistic.

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