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From "Brian Topping" <topp...@digidemic.com>
Subject RE: RedHat patent applications
Date Wed, 29 May 2002 05:29:35 GMT
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Hartle [mailto:mhartle@hartle-klug.com]
> Subject: RedHat patent applications
> 
> While the 
> latter seems to go more into a OS-related direction, the 
> former somewhat 
> resembles existing functionality in Cocoon 2. Is this in any 
> way relevant ?

This application looks very similar to Cocoon pipelining, someone needs to tell the USPTO
that it has been done already.  Seems to me that there could be a hassle if Redhat gets their
patent, the US Supreme Court yesterday made things a little more difficult for everyone. 
See http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/zd/20020529/tc_zd/924359.  Excerpt:

"In Tuesday's ruling in Festo v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Koygo Kabushiki, the high court gave more
ammunition to patent holders by allowing them to exert a legal theory known as the "doctrine
of equivalents" in certain cases. 

Under the doctrine, a patent owner can assert rights that go beyond the scope of an original
claim if the product performed an equivalent function. For example, if a patent owner had
rights to a product that contained a copper wire, another company would not be allowed to
market a product with an aluminum wire that performed the same function. "

So basically, if Redhat is allowed to have this patent (they shouldn't, Cocoon should be considered
prior art that voids their claim), they may be able to stifle innovation on Cocoon in the
future if Redhat is able to say that the concepts created in future versions of Cocoon were
reasonably evident from the base patent.  At least that is the way I have interpreted all
this.  I could be all wet.  

Software patents suck, if you ask me.  It really takes the fun out of writing code, and considering
trade secret law adequately protects software that wasn't meant to be disassembled anyway,
I don't believe that software patents should be allowed.  

I have no clue what to do to get the USPTO to reject this though.  Anyone have any ideas?

Brian

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