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From "Lawrence Rosen" <lro...@rosenlaw.com>
Subject RE: [debian-announce@: Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ now available]
Date Sat, 09 Jul 2011 17:02:25 GMT
FWIW, although most of what's in this Community Distribution Patent Policy
FAQ may be useful, I strongly disagree with the following advice:

   "Reading patents, especially when researching how to design a
contribution 
   to your free software project, may expose communities to liability that 
   they would not otherwise have."

This portion of the FAQ is somewhat clearer although it leaves out important
details that turn mere reading of a patent into clear and convincing
evidence of willful infringement: "Infringement is willful if the infringer
knew of the patent, unless the infringer had a good faith belief that the
patent was invalid, or that his conduct did not infringe. The patent holder
must show all the elements of willfulness, and in the US courts must do so
at a higher standard of proof, which is called 'clear and convincing
evidence'."

I challenge any lawyer to identify a case where an engineer doing research
by reading published patents has ever been penalized by a court merely for
doing so.

/Larry


Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (www.rosenlaw.com) 
3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
Cell: 707-478-8932
Apache Software Foundation, member and counsel (www.apache.org) 


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Daniel Shahaf [mailto:d.s@daniel.shahaf.name]
> Sent: Saturday, July 09, 2011 7:02 AM
> To: legal-discuss@apache.org
> Subject: Fwd: [debian-announce@: Community Distribution Patent Policy
> FAQ now available]
> 
> tldr Debian published a patents FAQ at
> http://www.debian.org/reports/patent-faq
> 
> ----- Forwarded message from Stefano Zacchiroli <leader@debian.org> ---
> --
> 
> > Date: Sat, 9 Jul 2011 09:15:42 +0200
> > From: Stefano Zacchiroli <leader@debian.org>
> > To: debian-announce@lists.debian.org
> > Subject: Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ now available
> > Message-ID: <20110709090342.GA28566@upsilon.cc>
> > Resent-Message-ID: <dYUjxCpANXH.A.Ra.xAAGOB@liszt>
> > Resent-From: debian-announce@lists.debian.org
> > X-Mailing-List: <debian-announce@lists.debian.org> archive/latest/143
> > X-Loop: debian-announce@lists.debian.org
> > Resent-Sender: debian-announce-request@lists.debian.org
> > Resent-Date: Sat,  9 Jul 2011 07:16:02 +0000 (UTC)
> >
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---
> > The Debian Project
> http://www.debian.org/
> > Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ available
> press@debian.org
> > July 9th, 2011
> http://www.debian.org/News/2011/20110709
> > ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---
> >
> > Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ now available
> >
> > The Debian Project is pleased to announce the availability of the
> > Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ [1], a document meant to
> > educate Free Software developers, and especially distribution
> editors,
> > about software patent risks.
> >
> >   1: http://www.debian.org/reports/patent-faq
> >
> > The FAQ has been prepared by lawyers at Software Freedom Law Center
> [2]
> > (SFLC) at the request of and with input from the Debian Project.
> While
> > the document does not constitute legal advice, it provides insights
> on
> > dealing with software patents, which might be applicable to other
> > community-driven Free Software distributions.
> >
> >   2: http://www.softwarefreedom.org
> >
> > The Debian Project maintains a critical stance towards software
> patents:
> > we consider software patents a threat to Free Software and we believe
> > they provide no advantages in promoting software innovation.
> >
> > At the same time, given the 'de facto' possibility of patenting
> software
> > related ideas in several countries around the world, it is important
> for
> > Free Software developers and distributors to neither underestimate
> nor
> > overestimate software patent issues. "Patent FUD is a serious
> problem,
> > as is the risk of patent aggression against Free Software," said Eben
> > Moglen, founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center. "SFLC
> is
> > pleased to work with Debian to help volunteers for community
> > distributions everywhere understand the real risks, and real
> solutions,
> > without being disheartened by fear, uncertainty, and doubt."
> >
> > We believe that the Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ helps in
> > that respect and we are glad to make it available to others. "Debian,
> as
> > many other community distributions, has often had troubles in
> assessing
> > the risks of patent aggression toward volunteer developers. I'm glad
> and
> > thrilled about the opportunity we have of collaborating with SFLC to
> > shed some light on these matters." said Stefano Zacchiroli, Debian
> > Project Leader. "We will do our best to disseminate our findings, in
> a
> > humble attempt to minimize the damages that software patents, and
> some
> > of their myths, cause every day to Free Software."
> >
> >
> > About Debian
> > ------------
> > The Debian Project was founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock to be a truly
> free
> > community project. Since then the project has grown to be one of the
> > largest and most influential open source projects.  Thousands of
> > volunteers from all over the world work together to create and
> maintain
> > Debian software. Available in 70 languages, and supporting a huge
> range
> > of computer types, Debian calls itself the "universal operating
> system".
> >
> > Contact Information
> > -------------------
> > For further information, please visit the Debian web pages at
> > http://www.debian.org/ or send mail to <press@debian.org>.
> >
> >
> > --
> > To UNSUBSCRIBE, email to debian-announce-REQUEST@lists.debian.org
> > with a subject of "unsubscribe". Trouble? Contact
> listmaster@lists.debian.org
> > Archive: http://lists.debian.org/20110709090342.GA28566@upsilon.cc
> >
> 
> ----- End forwarded message -----
> 
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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