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Re: [DotGNU] the .NET API patent issue

From: jscottb
Subject: Re: [DotGNU] the .NET API patent issue
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 08:25:55 -0500 (EST)

I'm a US developer, and have this question:

If the code is developed "Outside" the USA, then can I use it "Inside" the
USA (probably not I would guess)?  I remember the RSA code would only allow
use in the US and not out, so this is why I ask.

Me thinks we should patent Breathing, and sue the rest of the corporate


On Fri, 10 Oct 2003, Norbert Bollow wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> Marcus,
>   you misunderstood what I wrote.  The one piece of work which we will
> be able to accept only under the condition that we know that it was
> done outside the US is the "design of alternatives to the
> US-patent-endangered APIs".  It is of criticial importance for the
> future of DotGNU that this part is done in a legally bulletproof way.
> The lawyer said that specifically this part of the work has to be done
> outside the US, and that the developer who does this must "never bring
> the work with him to the US".  However, in the current situation "he
> need not do any more than that" in order to "avoid direct liability".
> So, since the laywer said that this particular part of the work needs
> to be done outside the US, I'll insist that it must be done outside
> the US.
> I strongly recommend to US residents who would like to assist the
> Portable.NET efforts to either stick to the not-patent-endangered
> parts such as e.g.
> - - everything that is in the ECMA standards
> - - System.Windows.Forms (not affected by the .NET API patent issue
>   because there is no non-obvious invention in making thin wrappers
>   aournd a w32 API which is too old to be affected by the .NET API
>   patent issue)
> - - pnetC - porting glibc for use with cscc
> - - implementing the "alternatives to the US-patent-endangered APIs"
>   once they have been designed.
> I'm not saying that code contributions on US-patent-endangered stuff
> would be rejected.  The decision on what code is accepted into the
> pnet codebase is ultimately made by Rhys, far away from the US in a
> nice country where US patents have no legal force.  If something is
> good and useful code but doesn't really fit into pnet we can create
> another "DotGNU development project" for it (which of course would
> also be "not based in the US":).  Just because the US has a broken
> legal system in which software patents are accepted, we don't want
> to tell the rest of the world to not enjoy freedom rights they can
> legally have.
> However I will personally very strongly advise US residents to seek
> legal advice before contributing to US-patent-endangered code.  It
> seems that the FSF lawyers are so busy that I can get gratis legal
> advice from them only on matters which are of key importance to the
> future of DotGNU.  Finding _some_ way how the DotGNU project can work
> around the .NET API patents issue, without personal liability of
> contributing developers, and without risk for the long-term future of
> DotGNU, that is clearly important enough.  Resolving any reasonable
> concerns of possible personal liability from contributing to DotGNU
> in ways in which we recommend, that is clearly important enough.
> However if a US resident wants to contribute to implementing
> US-patent-endangered APIs, that is not something that I recommend,
> and I do not think that I'd be able to obtain legal advice from the
> FSF lawyers on how to do it safely.
> Marcus <address@hidden> wrote:
> > So US citizens are not welcome to assist to Pnet?
> >
> >
> > On Friday 10 October 2003 5:24 am, Norbert Bollow wrote:
> > > Hash: SHA1
> > >
> > > We have obtained legal advice on how to go about creating legally
> > > bulletproof alternatives to the US-patent-endangered APIs.  In a
> > > nutshell, the design part has to be outside the US (and whoever
> > > does it should never take the fruit of this work with him into the
> > > US), however the FSF patent lawyer says that implementing those
> > > replacement APIs in terms of already-exiting free libs will be
> > > "entirely safe", even for developers in the US.
> 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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