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Re: Here are some of my ideas for Fedora 8 and Fedora 9

On Sun, 2007-07-08 at 15:16 -0500, Mikkel L. Ellertson wrote:
> Les wrote:
> > On Sun, 2007-07-08 at 17:34 +0100, Steve Searle wrote:
> >> Around 05:28pm on Sunday, July 08, 2007 (UK time), Les Mikesell scrawled:
> >>
> >>> Which still leaves open the question of how many times you have to pay 
> >>> to license the same patent for the same device, or whether you can 
> >>> rearrange the bits in one licensed program?
> >> Never!  As a user you do not buy a licence for the patent - you would
> >> only do that if you were going to manufacturei (code)  and distribute
> >> something that uses the patented process.  As a user you get a licence
> >> to run the software (and maybe do other things with it, e.g. the GNU
> >> licence).
> >>
> > So, under this stricture, the folks who race cars, modifying the engine
> > by changing the valve train, exhaust, modify the carburator or injection
> > system add superchargers and do other things to boost performance are
> > patent violators?
> > 
> It is hard to say. You would have to know what modifications they
> are making. Or do you think the engine is patented?
> > A radio amatuer who takes an AM radio apart, uses the capacitor, and
> > transistors to build a new receiver for the amatuer bands, is a patent
> > violator?
> > 
> Is the radio patented? Is the capacitor? Does the design of the new
> receiver violate a patent?
> > A boy who takes his bicycle apart, changes the stroke length on the
> > pedals, modifies the handlebars, and changes the seat by some means is a
> > patent violator?
> > 
> What part of the bike is patented?
> > A man who buys a volkswagen bug, strips off the body, modifies the brake
> > system and adds a roll cage to make a dune buggy is a patent violator?
> > 
> Are you under the impression that a volkswagen bug is patented?
> While it probably has some patented parts, the bug itself is not
> patented.
> > A person who uses the Microsoft C compiler to create a new OS is a
> > patent violator?
> >
> Are you assuming there is a patent on the Microsoft C compiler or
> the source code it produces? Before you can be a patent violator,
> there has to be a patent, and you have to violate it.
> > And if it is OK to modify and engine, or a car or even a radio, then why
> > not a computer program?  Is software hacking more illegal than hardware
> > hacking?  And is computer hardware and software hacking subject to
> > strictures not imposed on other hardware in our possession?
> > 
> Who says you can not modify a computer program? People do it all the
> time. Now, if you included a patented process if the computer
> program, then you may have problems. You may also run into copyright
> problems, depending on what you do.
> > Are derivative patents then not valid?  For instance, the frontwheel
> > drive was originally developed by the Cord in the US.  Are then all
> > users of frontwheel drive subject to patents held by the Cord or the
> > companies that inherited the Cord patents and records?  Superchargers
> > were first on Dusenbergs.  Does that mean all superchargers have to pay
> > a royalty to the Dusenbergs?  I suspect they would like to hear that.
> > 
> Are you under the impression that by building something, you
> automatically get a patent on it? Or that a patent lasts forever? In
> order for something to be patented, someone has to apply for the
> patent, and it has to be approved. Somehow, I do not think the idea
> of putting a supercharger on a car was ever patented. But I am sure
> there were more then one supercharger design patent.
> > I'm just a bit incredulous.  I have been around a while, and these are
> > all things I have seen done, with no legal actions.  The ackerman
> > linkage that changes tire angle depending on which side of the turn the
> > tire is on is a unique and non-obvious use of levers.  It is used on
> > every single car that I know of.  How many are licensing that patent?
> > 
> > I'm just curious.  And clearly confused.
> > 
> Definitely confused. You have some strange ideas about what a patent
> is, and what it covers. All your examples show this. They are
> examples of products made from different parts, some of witch may be
> patented.
> On the other hand, what you are talking about with the software is
> more like removing a patented part, taking it apart, and using the
> design to build a new part...
As far as I know that is reverse engineering, and is not prohibited, in
fact the patent process was originally set up to advance such ideas, not
to restrict them.  The original license was for a fixed time, to allow
the inventor to profit from his invention, then release it into the
public domain.  Somewhere this appears to have been lost in peoples
perspectives at least.

It was to advance the state of the art, not to inhibit advance.

I don't appologize for being confused, I am sure I am not alone.  I know
that you have to apply for a patent.  For example, one of the Japanese
car manufacturers just announced their new invention of headlights that
turn with the wheel.  Actually they (and the rest of the auto companies
in the world) were just waiting for the patent to expire which belonged
to Tucker and his heirs.

When you create something made up of patented parts, you have two
choices, as I understand it, you can license from the patent holder the
right to build the parts according to the patent, or you can purchase
the parts from a license holder and use them in your design.  This
latter is how computers are built.  Various companies hold the patents
on the IC's, and the computer designer uses the IC designs to build a
new computer, with a mother board of his own design.  The design is then
patented as to the new pieces he has contributed, and production is
achieved by building the new part (the motherboard for example) and
purchasing the other patented components.

Am I wrong?

Les H

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