[aosd-discuss] AOP patent
r.d.green at lancaster.ac.uk
Thu Mar 6 20:56:03 EST 2003
On Thu, Mar 06, 2003 at 08:23:36PM +0100, Rickard Öberg wrote:
> Gregor Kiczales wrote:
> >With these patents, it is critical to understand exactly
> >what the patent does and doesn't cover. That can be a very
> >subtle process and often involves lawyers. It is also
> >important to understand the intentions of the patent holder
> >(i.e. PARC).
> Alright, what is the intent then?
Warm fuzzy proclamations of intent mean very little. Don't believe PR
fluff. It's like this: If you have an actual patent license from PARC,
in writing, you're safe. If you haven't, you're not, legally speaking.
Practically speaking, you may be unlikely to be shut down, it depends.
But legally speaking, you're in violation without a license - if the
patent is valid.
Put it this way: If they have no intent to sue either you *or your users*,
they should be quite happy to give you a license for free. So maybe
someone should ask for one and see what they say?
(Don't worry about inconveniencing PARC. They, quite literally,
asked for people to ask their permission for EVERY use of the covered
technology, by filing the patent.)
> Is there any point to anyone but PARC
> to research this area? I mean, legally it would seem as you'd be able to
> "shut down" pretty much any tool with that patent, and even if you don't
> the possibility will always be there which could be a serious impediment
> to progress in this area.
That's my fear, too.
Footnote:  This point is particularly relevant for open source software,
where users can create derivative works, and sometimes commercialise them.
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