Fwd: Dailymotion for XO laptop

tridge at tridgell.net tridge at tridgell.net
Mon Jan 14 20:31:13 EST 2008


 > 1. There are two kinds of "good patent attorneys". One kind works "pro 
 > bono" for free software and the other gets paid big bucks by patent 
 > holders.

There is a 3rd kind - the kind that works for a law firm specifically
funded to assist free software projects. For example, the Software
Freedom Law Center.

 > It's a question of two competing sides of a specific and very
 > detailed technical and legal argument being thrashed out in the
 > press and in the courts.

no, it does not need to be thrashed out either in the press or in
court. The aim is to avoid both. What you need to do is produce
detailed claim charts, along with a set of non-infringement
arguments. Once you have those then you can work out how to write your
code so as to avoid the patent. This isn't always possible, but it
often is.

 > If you head to the Groklaw web site, you can see this sort of thing
 > (from the free software side). This process does not take a few
 > weeks but *decades*.

Not true at all. I have handled the patent avoidance for Samba for a
long time now, and it has generally taken me a few weeks per patent
with a good patent attorney to come up with a solid non-infringement
argument. Those are intensive weeks, but it is certainly not years.

If it took 'decades' then what you would be doing is waiting for the
patent to expire. 

Whether the effort involved is worth it depends how much of an
impediement these codec patents are to the success of the OLPC
project. In the case of Samba we can't just choose to "use another
protocol", so avoiding patents via non-infringement is our only
choice. If we can't do it then we have to shutdown the project. That
makes almost any level of effort worthwhile. For OLPC the need for
these codecs is almost certainly not as critical, so perhaps the
effort is not worthwhile. That is not really for me to judge. I just
wanted to point out that the existance of a patent in connection with
a codec is not necessarily a show stopper. 

Cheers, Tridge

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