Re: Fwd: A steering committee for the LPF?

From: "Ean R (dot) Schuessler" <ean(at)novare(dot)net>
To: Lynn Winebarger <owinebar(at)se232(dot)math(dot)indiana(dot)edu>
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)debian(dot)org
Subject: Re: Fwd: A steering committee for the LPF?
Date: 1999-03-23 22:27:11
Views: Raw Message | Whole Thread | Download mbox
Lists: spi-general

My point is more to the fact that it is nearly impossible for an independant
programmer to find out if they are infringing on a patent. The patent
database is intractibly large, lacks proper search tools and contains
absurd numbers of patents that are overly broad. What this equates to is
an environment that is uncomfortable, if not openly hostile, to the
independant programmer.

On Tue, Mar 23, 1999 at 02:57:01PM -0500, Lynn Winebarger wrote:
> I don't think we need to contest it on 1st amendment grounds. The
> thing is, distributing source code (maybe even binary code) is expression
> and can't infringe on a patent. But what does infringe on the patent is
> when the software is actually loaded into the computer and executed, which
> then makes the computer an instantiation of the patented device. In
> essence, you "manufacture" an infringing device each time you execute the
> program.
> At least, this is what I've gathered. The distinction is a technical
> one, but it's consistent with the way the courts have ruled between the
> copyrightable parts of software (the actual expression) versus the
> patentable parts (the actual functioning).
> I don't know if you could be sued for "contributory infringement",
> though.
> The better grounds for a lawsuit defense (I think) would be to argue
> that it's in the public interest to foster free software development.
> >From what I've been reading, the courts (particularly the Supreme Court)
> consider themselves to be the arbiter of what this is and have
> used it in the past as grounds for revoking patents. I'm not sure about
> the current SC, though. But Justice O'Connor did make an encouraging
> statement in one case that I've seen quoted several times (though of
> course I can't find it when I look for it) about how the IP laws exist to
> serve the public, not the IP monopolist, and when those two conflict, the
> public wins.
> I am not a lawyer, I've just taken an active interest in this area,
> since it seems to me we have a fundamental interest in making the law work
> for us (as opposed to only those who can pay for it).

Ean Schuessler A guy running Linux
Novare International Inc. A company running Linux
--- Some or all of the above signature may be a joke

Browse spi-general by date

  From Date Subject
Next Message Wichert Akkerman 1999-03-24 11:40:39 Re: Fwd: A steering committee for the LPF?
Previous Message Lynn Winebarger 1999-03-23 20:02:29 Re: Fwd: A steering committee for the LPF?