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From "William A. Rowe, Jr." <wr...@rowe-clan.net>
Subject Re: Apache License : grant of patent license and derivative works
Date Thu, 31 Mar 2005 03:31:21 GMT
At 09:19 PM 3/30/2005, Niclas Hedhman wrote:
>On Wednesday 30 March 2005 22:42, Jeffrey Thompson wrote:
>> What someone can't do is take your code that you contributed to the http
>> project, move it to the ftp project, then claim that since there is a
>> patent claim infringed by the combination of your contribution with the ftp
>> project that wasn't infringed by the combination of your contribution to
>> the http project that the new patent claim is somehow licensed.
>Is it possible for someone to re-phrase this?? I can't understand it.

Yes.  It helps if you don't equate a patent with code.

Let's say I have a patent on the idea of burning wood in a metal
stove.  I design a stovepipe to carry the soot out of the building.
I add doors to keep the fire contained, and some vents to allow the
draft to carry from the bottom of the furnace through the flue.
Both the stove, and the flat surface on top can be used for heating
and cooking.  (An actual patent by B. Franklin, if you ever feel 
inclined to argue that our founding fathers didn't believe in IP 
protection :)

You want to mass produce such stoves, and I grant you a license
to reproduce my stove design for $1 per stove sold.

One odd claim in my patent is for the design of the flue.  Lets
say you adopt the concept to a coal burning heater furnace.  It
doesn't have other characteristics, but it has the same essential
flue and vent designed described in the original patent.

First, you might assume you don't have to pay royalties, but it's
pretty obvious, as one of the claims, that you have to.  So you
send me a check for $100 for the 100 furnaces sold.

I have every right to claim that I granted the rights for you to
produce stoves under my license.  Not furnaces.  I insist on $5 
per furnace.

Remember, the patent consists of several claims, and patents in
our case describe methods, not specific code.  You can change the
code, and still be violating the patent.  Change the logic, or the
results, and you may have code that doesn't collide with the patent.

IANAL - but that's been my understanding for years.


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