Re: MIPSco -- compiler technology patents? (David Keppel)
Sat, 7 Sep 91 17:33:23 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (David Keppel)
Keywords: legal
Organization: Computer Science & Engineering, U. of Washington, Seattle
References: 91-09-008
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 91 17:33:23 GMT (Mark Smotherman) writes:
>[A paper ends w/ a notice of patents applied on paper's algorithms.]
>[Is there a cannonical list of designs to avoid?]
>[What is the relationship of the algorithm to research?]

A list of things I believe today but maybe not yesterday or tomorrow, and
I'm not a lawyer:

* There is no list of designs to avoid. You write your code, you hope
nodbody sues you.

* I believe that patented devices can always be built without fee for
personal use, but that patented items cannot be sold or given away without
the patent owner's consent. I expect that means that patented algorithms
can be examined, but the code that contains them cannot be given away.

* Many companies automatically apply for patents on promising items. If
the patent is issued, it can be used as a bargaining chip. Patents can
also be used to hurt the competative edge of a company that is alleged to
infringe; if the owner of the patent can afford to sue, they can cost the
alleged infringer lots of money and/or get a restraining order.

* The original goal of patents was to provide inventors enough protection
that they would be encouraged to invent for the public benefit.

The League for Programming Freedom has an interesting paper on patents. I
highly recommend reading it. You can get a copy via anonymous ftp from
`' in `pub/lpf/patents.texinfo'. The texinfo file can be
formatted using `TeX', provided you get the `texinfo.tex' file from the
same directory.

;-D on ( The Patent Tourney ) Pardo

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