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Re: [DotGNU]Re: the .NET API patent issue

From: Norbert Bollow
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Re: the .NET API patent issue
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 15:26:00 +0200 (CEST)

Hash: SHA1

Neil Cawse <address@hidden> wrote:

> > We have obtained legal advice on how to go about creating legally
> > bulletproof alternatives to the US-patent-endangered APIs.
> Would this include System.Windows.Forms, System.Drawing, System.XML

These three are not among the US-patent-endangered APIs.

> etc.?  Is any of our existing work at risk?

To my best knowledge, no DotGNU component depends in essential ways
on any US-patent-endangered APIs, and we will certainly do whatever
it takes to keep it that way.  For example, I am glad that our C#
compiler does not depend on System.Reflection.Emit

Nota bene, DotGNU definately wants to have implementations also of
the US-patent-endangered APIs.  We need to caution DotGNU users to
avoid using them in new code, but we need to have them available
to make porting of code that was written for .NET easy.  Even if
that patent application becomes a patent, and if MS should choose
to try to enforce it, it will not have legal force outside the US,
so non-US users will still have the benefit of easy migration from
.NET to DotGNU.

As long as MS does not send us a "cease and desist" or something, the
implementations of the US-patent-endangered APIs will be available
also to US users.  No-one (except perhaps MS) knows how long this will
continue to be the case, therefore we need to warn current and
potential DotGNU users to not use these US-patent-endangered APIs for
new code.  We need to inform DotGNU users that these APIs are meant
_only_ to make it easier to move away from .NET

> Does this restriction apply to Canada?

Do US patents have any legal force in Canada?  No?  Good.  :-)

> What is the implication to work already done and contribution that
> has already happened by us citizens?

It seems that what matters is where the work is done, not whether it
is done by US citizens.

As far as I know, so far all work on patent-endangered APIs has been
done outside the US.

Therefore I believe that if we proceed carefully and with wisdom, we
will be perfectly ok.

Greetings, Norbert.

- -- 
Founder & Steering Committee member of
Free Software Business Strategy Guide   --->
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 1 972 20 59        Fax +41 1 972 20 69
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