Fwd: Re: [clug] FOSS patent infringements

Jason j.lee.nielsen at gmail.com
Wed May 16 01:15:29 GMT 2007

All these piles of mysterious patents really confuse me, maybe someone who actually understands it properly could do a talk on what a poor open source developer need to know one month.

For instance the difference between copyright, trademark and patent, a companies logo is automatically copyrighted but they can can apply for it to be trademarked or maybe registered? How do you differentiate between a graphical concept like a logo and an equally graphical concept like a user interface which can be apparently patented?

There are also fair use provisions in copyright, (I think you can quote up to 10% of a copyrighted document) are there any such provisions involved with patents?

If I have no money and I am making a free (as in beer) product, what can the big evils actually sue out of me?

A confused Jason

On Wed, 16 May 2007 10:40:00 +1000, Chris Smart <chris at kororaa.org> wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> "Open-source programs step on 235 Microsoft patents, the company said.
> Free Linux software violates 42 patents. Graphical user interfaces, the
> way menus and windows look on the screen, breach 65. E-mail programs
> step on 15, and other programs touch 68 other patents, the company said.
> The patent figures were first reported by Fortune magazine.
> Microsoft also said Open Office, an open-source program supported in
> part by Sun Microsystems Inc., infringes on 45 patents."
> Though of course they haven't yet released detailed information about
> the patents but as the article says, "it's not in Microsoft's interest
> to do so: Open-source programmers could rewrite their code to avoid
> infringing on specific patents, or the courts could find that
> Microsoft's patent isn't valid.
> If Microsoft were to start suing, it could also kick off a patent war on
> a grand scale. An organization called the Open Innovation Network,
> funded by IBM Corp., Red Hat Inc. and others, has amassed a vast number
> of software patents. In the event of a Microsoft lawsuit against open
> source companies or customers, the OIN would retaliate in kind."
> Now that could get interesting :)
> - -c
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> =4h2o

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