Patent hit - MS goes after Linux - FreeBSD ?

Daniel Rudy dr2867 at
Fri Aug 3 21:34:43 UTC 2012

--- On Fri, 8/3/12, kpneal at <kpneal at> wrote:

From: kpneal at <kpneal at>
Subject: Re:  Patent hit - MS goes after Linux - FreeBSD ?
To: "Wojciech Puchar" <wojtek at>
Cc: "freebsd-questions at" <freebsd-questions at>
Date: Friday, August 3, 2012, 9:42 AM

On Fri, Aug 03, 2012 at 04:09:06PM +0200, Wojciech Puchar wrote:
> >Unless Congress
> >pulls a Mickey Mouse Protection Act-lookalike on patents by extending
> >them just as they did with Copyright.
> >
> then it will still hit USA users only. FreeBSD master site can simply be 
> moved.

If we're talking about patent infringement then moving FreeBSD outside of
the country does zero to protect users of FreeBSD. Every single one of
them that uses a part of FreeBSD that a patent holder claims infringes on
a patent is vulnerable to a lawsuit.

Also, if you pay attention to the news then you see in the DMCA, ACTA, the
TPP, and other examples that the US is trying to get the rest of the world
to adopt its views. The weird thinking that people in government have is
that the solution to a bad law that affects only the US is to get other
countries to adopt the same bad law so as to hurt everyone everywhere.

But, at the end of the day I think FreeBSD should worry about patent
infringement the way people worry about dying in a car wreck: Use a
reasonable amount of care to avoid it, and then don't worry about it.

Kevin P. Neal                      

                    "A pig's gotta fly." - Crimson Pig
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Reading this thread, I've decided to add my 2 cents...  Being from the US, there's alot of people who are not happy with the DCMA, copyrights, and patents in general.  Did you know that the type of patent determines how long it is for?  Pharmaceutical patents are valid for 7 years then it's fair game to anyone (generic drugs).  Software patents are valid for 20 years in the US.  Why?  I have no idea myself.  Maybe someone who is reading can explain.  Copyright is ridiculous.  It should be set at 30 years and no more.  95 years after the death of the author is a little excessive.  I can understand the author and the kids getting royalties, but grandkids and great-grandkids?  A big difference between copyright and patents is that copyright is constitutional (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8), patents are not.  The reason why patents came up was that back around 1900 when automobile manufacturing was getting started, companies would copy each
 others ideas.  You come up with something, then a week later all of your competitors stole your idea and was implementing it in their products.  But this is venturing into off-topic territory.

I remember a big stink back in around 2007 or so where someone went through the Linux operating system (Not just the kernel mind you), and said that Linux infringes on 235 or so Microsoft patents.  They refused to say what patents were being infringed on because they didn't want to screw the open source community.  But by not saying what those patents were, they did screw the open source community.  The problem is that Microsoft isn't telling where the violations are so they cannot be removed.  They are during the court cases, but I haven't seen anything as to which patents are being violated.  Then again, I haven't been following the court cases either.  In fact, if one thinks about it, it would be in Microsoft's best interest to not disclose what patents are being infringed on because if they did, then the infringing code would be reworked or removed, leaving Microsoft with no recourse against companies who use Linux.  What it comes down to is
 that Microsoft is making sure that they have an income.  It's pretty smart on their part, but it's still unethical and even nefarious if you ask me.

As for software development, I don't look at patents, I don't even talk about patents.  That way later on if someone comes up and says that I am infringing on their patent, I can ask them patent and claim number, and what particular part of the code that is infringing, and I can claim that I have no knowledge of that patent.  If you look at precedent, the innocent infringer (although no defense) is usually given a slap on the wrist when compared to the intentional infringer.

When it comes to the technology sector, at least in the US, you're either getting sued, suing someone, or both.  And it has gotten much worse over the last decade or so.  This is why major companies like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, RIM, Nokia, Broadcomm, etc. accumulate patents in mass.  It's usually to protect themselves from patent lawsuits.  Just imagine if everyone sued for every little infringement.  It would be far worse than it is now.  

Case in point: Apple vs. Samsung.  Apple says Samsung copied the iPhone and iPad.  Apple is claiming patent infringement.  The patents involved cover "design look and feel" which I think is utter bullshit.  As it turns out, Apple has been sliding on the iPhone and iPad sales while Samsung has been gaining market share.  That's the motivation right there...anti competitiveness.  So, Samsung went over what they can leverage to protect themselves and found that Apple's iPhone and iPad are infringing some very core wireless technology patents.  With that in mind, Samsung can go and make EVERYBODY pay up.  But they are not.  Just some food for though.

I'm not a lawyer, so you should seek legal advise if you need it.

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