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From Christofer Dutz <christofer.d...@codecentric.de>
Subject Re: Protocols and IP?
Date Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:50:10 GMT
Hi Ted,


thank you for the feedback. So, it seems at least you are thinking of it the same way I am.
I just wanted to check if someone knew a definitive reason for not doing this.

If there would have been a well-known reason NOT to do this, I just wanted to make sure prior
to investing too much time and effort in this.


Right now, I have finished a working initial proof-of-concept of my Siemens S7 adapter and
I used only information that wasn’t marked with any license that would forbid me of using

My main problem was the definition of constants and their meaning. But I think I found a good
solution for this. 


I didn’t want to ask Siemens, for example, as I know that they had a habit of suing people
when the first open source projects came up in this area. But as far as I know they lost leverage
as the information was more and more “public knowledge” the more people worked on reverse
engineering the protocols.


Also, I think the OPC-UA guys won’t be very happy with my efforts as it does somehow undermine
one of the OPC foundations business models. So, I wouldn’t expect them to be too forthcoming


The thing is the PLC Industry is and always has been quite a closed environment. That’s
the main reason for my new project, to open that. I am expecting trouble down the road, but
therefore trying to setup everything and document my sources in order to be able to easily
deflect any trouble that might come along.


Guess it would be best to have this double checked by some paid lawyers. Just didn’t want
to throw my companies money into their throats if there was an obvious reason not to do so.
Seems there is no obvious one, so we’ll have to check the non-obvious ones.

But I’ll report what we find out.







Mit freundlichen Grüßen | Best regards

Christofer Dutz | Senior IT Consultant


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Von: Ted Dunning <ted.dunning@gmail.com>
Antworten an: <legal-discuss@apache.org>
Datum: Montag, 30. Oktober 2017 um 01:29
An: "legal-discuss@apache.org" <legal-discuss@apache.org>
Betreff: Re: Protocols and IP?



IT is hard to get people to answer questions that sound like you are asking for legal advice.


I can't give you that any more than anybody who is not your lawyer. But be warned that they
would probably just say "it depends".


But I can point you to some basics. See below



On Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 12:40 AM, Christofer Dutz <cdutz@apache.org> wrote:


On 2017-10-21 09:28, Christofer Dutz <christofer.dutz@codecentric.de> wrote:
> Now my main question: If I implement an adapter for a protocol and use only freely available
information to do that, can I be infringing some intellectual property of a third party and
could that cause problems for my project?



There are only a few kinds of intellectual property. These include copyrights, patents and
trade secrets.


If you write an independent implementation of something based on freely available information,
you are not infringing copyright because you didn't reproduce the original copyrighted thing.
With some care, you can even read GPL code and then write your own and you can certainly use
GPL test cases to test your version, unless the license on the test cases is even more restrictive
than most GPL code. The restriction would be, however, on the use of the test cases, not on
the possibility of copyright violation in your new code.


Regarding patents, you can't say much. You might or might not be infringing any number of
patents even (especially) if you haven't even heard of them. Most public standards try to
force some sort of reasonable licensing of patents that bear on the standard, but there are
still trolls who try to cause trouble. This risk is impossible to quantify most of the time.
 Good luck.


Regarding trade secrets, it would be hard for anybody to claim that any sort of standard protocol
is a trade secret.



Why don't you ask the industry association if you can write your own implementation using
their documentation and test cases?



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