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Mesa Developers Still Fear Patent Wrath With S2TC

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  • #16
    Originally posted by marek View Post
    What law is that?
    I do not know how enforcable it will be, but if it is even barely enforceable it means that the MESA project will be patent immune to ST3C patent infrigiments until eventual attempt at being sued, and even then you can just point at the letter, and say "you didn't reply", and then remove the code afterwards.
    Providing enough letters is sent, so that the letter did not get lost in the mail system, and there is enough markings and stamps on the letter to make it sure that it was not just a random fraud.
    But then again: Not sure how enforcable it is. But if they receive the letter, whoever is in charge reads it, and no reply is given, it should be pretty enforcable in any court, providing one can prove they have read it.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by del_diablo View Post
      I do not know how enforcable it will be, but if it is even barely enforceable it means that the MESA project will be patent immune to ST3C patent infrigiments until eventual attempt at being sued, and even then you can just point at the letter, and say "you didn't reply", and then remove the code afterwards.
      Providing enough letters is sent, so that the letter did not get lost in the mail system, and there is enough markings and stamps on the letter to make it sure that it was not just a random fraud.
      But then again: Not sure how enforcable it is. But if they receive the letter, whoever is in charge reads it, and no reply is given, it should be pretty enforcable in any court, providing one can prove they have read it.
      I think that this sounds like the thoughts and ideas of a logical and technical person, and sadly that is not how the legal system works. You have to think like a lawyer (and a huge company) and not like a sane human being.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Azpegath View Post
        I think that this sounds like the thoughts and ideas of a logical and technical person, and sadly that is not how the legal system works. You have to think like a lawyer (and a huge company) and not like a sane human being.
        Actually there might be some room in the legal system for this kind of thinking. It has happened before that a company or individual has lost their rights to a patent or trademark due to not enforcing it. To put it in layman's qualitative terms, basically, if someone abuses the heck out of your patent; you know about their abuse; but you don't do anything about it; then you can lose the rights to your patent because the system assumes that you are implicitly condoning the unlicensed patent use.

        The best thing we could do is provide official legal notice to HTC that we believe they possess a patent that we have the capability to infringe. If they don't threaten us, don't explicitly license the patent, and don't take any legal action against anybody, then it might be defensible to say that they aren't enforcing their patent and therefore should use it. But we would have to provide legally-admissible proof that the code is being actively executed in an environment other than for private individual use, which AFAIK is protected. So we'd have to give HTC the names of for-profit companies that actively use unlicensed code that infringes on S3TC -- and then pray that, rather than suing them, they either do nothing (good) or license the patent to the general public (better). But of course instead of doing either of those things they might end up suing the company, and then we'd feel bad for basically being tattle-tails to get HTC some easy money. And we all know that the overly-conservative US court system would uphold the patent and we'd be back to square one.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Azpegath View Post
          I think that this sounds like the thoughts and ideas of a logical and technical person, and sadly that is not how the legal system works. You have to think like a lawyer (and a huge company) and not like a sane human being.
          This is not thinking like a sane person. This is thinking like a retarded monkey. If anyone can add legally binding clauses to UNSOLICITED mail they send out, we would be living in fucking chaos.

          Clause A: The reading of this post means you accept my position on the matter
          Clause B: On accepting my position you must give me access to all your intellectual property.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by allquixotic View Post
            The best thing we could do is provide official legal notice to HTC that we believe they possess a patent that we have the capability to infringe. If they don't threaten us, don't explicitly license the patent, and don't take any legal action against anybody, then it might be defensible to say that they aren't enforcing their patent and therefore should use it.
            Yeah, none of this makes any difference for patents. Companies can choose how and on whom they enforce their patents. Whether you must pay fees is at the discretion of the patent holder. They can choose to ignore it for as long as they want, and they can choose to charge whenever they want. The onus is on YOU to ensure that you do not infringe. There is no such "not-enforced" defense for patents.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by yesterday View Post
              This is not thinking like a sane person. This is thinking like a retarded monkey. If anyone can add legally binding clauses to UNSOLICITED mail they send out, we would be living in fucking chaos.

              Clause A: The reading of this post means you accept my position on the matter
              Clause B: On accepting my position you must give me access to all your intellectual property.
              Well, that is of course true, but you would have to add "The reading of this post means you accept my position on the matter, if you do not immediately object to the statement."

              I read (and responded to) his post with some forgiving eyes, and didn't interpret it literally.
              Last edited by Azpegath; 08-09-2011, 09:17 AM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by yesterday View Post
                Yeah, none of this makes any difference for patents. Companies can choose how and on whom they enforce their patents. Whether you must pay fees is at the discretion of the patent holder. They can choose to ignore it for as long as they want, and they can choose to charge whenever they want. The onus is on YOU to ensure that you do not infringe. There is no such "not-enforced" defense for patents.
                I know this specific argument has been going on in the previous thread on the Mesa issue, so we might as well skip it here. But I do have a question: How did it go for Fraunhofer Institute regarding their mp3 patent, which they tried to re-inforce several years after mp3 had become the de facto standard for audio files?

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                • #23
                  By the way the patents for mp3 end in 2017 or somewhere around that time.

                  Nobody seems to care for this very important thing so I'm going to ask it.
                  When do the S3TC patents expire/end?

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                  • #24
                    Treat patents like the scum they are, and if you must then just keep some or all of the software in question out of the stupid patent enforcement country in question so that they can't come after you, but make it easily accessible and installable for users and devs, just like the DVD decryption crap.

                    I'm sure at some point these companies are going to have to be stood up against eventually though, but for now you can at least still comfortably stand in the countries which aren't retarded.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by plonoma View Post
                      By the way the patents for mp3 end in 2017 or somewhere around that time.

                      Nobody seems to care for this very important thing so I'm going to ask it.
                      When do the S3TC patents expire/end?
                      Wait, let me google that for you ...

                      http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publi...=&locale=en_EP
                      There's the patent.

                      and here's the part from the Patent article at Wikipedia which you are interested in:
                      "Under current US law, the term of patent is 20 years from the earliest claimed filing date (which can be extended via Patent Term Adjustment and Patent Term Extension). For applications filed before June 8, 1995, the term is 17 years from the issue date or 20 years from the earliest claimed domestic priority date, the longer term applying."


                      Technically, it is a bit strange that S3 got the patent from the beginning since it is (according to Wikipedia) "an adaptation of Block Truncation Coding published in the late 1970s." But I guess an adaption (or small change) is always patentable, as long as you can prove that it is doing stuff differently.
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S3_Texture_Compression
                      Last edited by Azpegath; 08-09-2011, 09:28 AM.

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                      • #26
                        can anyone please clarify what its about? for me its like reinventing the wheel, that got patented by someone... only simpler because a circle is a circle.
                        however i dont remember having signed any contract how to use my hardware... so whats the deal? what is the patent on? what exactly does it state?
                        if i invent a neat way of binding my shoes and make a patent on it. will this (legally!!) prevent anyone from binding their shoes in whatever way? is this legally possible?

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by jakubo View Post
                          can anyone please clarify what its about? for me its like reinventing the wheel, that got patented by someone... only simpler because a circle is a circle.
                          however i dont remember having signed any contract how to use my hardware... so whats the deal? what is the patent on? what exactly does it state?
                          if i invent a neat way of binding my shoes and make a patent on it. will this (legally!!) prevent anyone from binding their shoes in whatever way? is this legally possible?
                          Well yes, that's exactly what patents are about. You "invent" a way of doing something, patent it, and have the exclusive right of using it. Many companies use a large patent portfolio as a defense towards other companies' patents, like "Don't sue us over our patent infringements, because then we'll sue you over your patent infringements!" They also use them to show how "innovative" they are, the more patents the more cool and new stuff you do.
                          The sad thing (well, the whole thing sucks) is that (among other things) technical patents (and especially software patents) rarely work since technology moves so fast and the patent offices has no way of keeping up-to-date. This means that they OK patents which clearly has nothing new in them. You should generally be able to fight such a patent in court, by stating there are "prior publications" etc, but if you don't have the money to go to court, you're fucked from the start.

                          You have to pay quite a lot of money to get a patent, and you have to patent it in every country (or the EU) for which you want it to be valid. I think the current rate for European countries is in the vicinity of 10.000 per country, but I'm not sure.

                          Read the article on them (preferably in your own language) you'll learn a lot:
                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Azpegath View Post
                            I know this specific argument has been going on in the previous thread on the Mesa issue, so we might as well skip it here. But I do have a question: How did it go for Fraunhofer Institute regarding their mp3 patent, which they tried to re-inforce several years after mp3 had become the de facto standard for audio files?
                            Fraunhofer gets a cut from every hardware MP3 player on the market, IIRC.

                            Just like the MPEG-LA gets a cut from every (legal) DVD and BluRay player bought worldwide.

                            Lame is a special case since it's software-only, which is legal in many parts of the world (not patentable). Still, US-based distros do not ship MP3 encoders.

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                            • #29
                              Perhaps someone at the FSF can provide some legal clarity?

                              Has anyone asked the FSF for advice?

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by chrisr View Post
                                Has anyone asked the FSF for advice?
                                I think there is an old Phoronix article at least mentioning it, but I haven't got the strength to google it...

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