[ILUG] Fwd: Mary Harney's Answer on Software Patents
jm at jmason.org
Thu May 27 17:54:49 IST 2004
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Paul Jakma writes:
> On Sun, 23 May 2004, Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> > ...but once any EU state accepts a patent application, any software
> > distributor will have the hassle of keeping their software out of
> > that country and the german office will be told "but france
> > recognises our innovation".
> Right, and the same thing essentially applies with US. If you want to
> market software or work on free software that will be distributed in
> US, you'll have to avoid software patents.
There's another question. Old-timers will recall that SSLeay came with a
long README document detailing all the patents filed on various crypto
techniques (IDEA, RSA, Diffie-Hellman, etc. etc.) in various countries
around the world; if you were planning to use SSLeay for anything, you'd
need to look up what patents were valid in your locale and get licenses
In other words, SSLeay pushed the patent licensing burden onto the
end-user. [*] End-users that didn't bother getting licenses were
Now, I have a vague recollection that one of the European proposals
removed the ability to do this; in other words, you cannot distribute
patented software without getting the license *first*. Distributing
without licenses upfront was infringement.
Anyone know if I'm remembering incorrectly?
([*]: actually, I'm not even sure if this was legal in the first place.
Possibly Eric Young just did it this way because it seemed like a
plausible loophole ;)
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