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  • Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
    The same arguement would apply only if the patentable aspect of S3TC was implemented in hardware.

    If it is implmented in software, then it would be safe to use in Linux only if the owner of the patent had promised not to sue other Linux vendors...
    That is a reasonable point. But my counterpoint is - haven't I already paid for a patent license when I bought the card? It shouldn't matter what part of a patent has been implemented by hardware and what by software - the patent holder got his license fees from the manufacturer. It's not like the manufacturer got exempt from the license fees for cards that are used under Linux with open source drivers, is it?

    I can see this being an issue when the patent implementation is used without a corresponding hardware part, like with a software renderer. But with a real hardware we should be in the clear.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by kobblestown View Post
      That is a reasonable point. But my counterpoint is - haven't I already paid for a patent license when I bought the card?
      Nope, you don't get magically a license for the patent just with buying a product that implements a patent. That would make patents pretty useless.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by TobiSGD View Post
        Nope, you don't get magically a license for the patent just with buying a product that implements a patent. That would make patents pretty useless.
        Shouldn't you at least gain the right to make use of the patent even if you don't get a license to distribute products built upon the patent?

        It sucks, patent law covers both usage and distribution?
        I think it should be like copyright and only cover distribution, not usage.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by TobiSGD View Post
          Nope, you don't get magically a license for the patent just with buying a product that implements a patent. That would make patents pretty useless.
          Err ... yes, you do. The manufacturer of the hardware pays a licence fee to the patent holder, and embodies the IP in the hardware device, and adds the cost of the licence to the cost of the product, and then on-sells it to the end user. Since they have paid for it, the end user now has the licence.

          It is actually the law ...

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implied_license

          An implied license is an unwritten license which permits a party (the licensee) to do something that would normally require the express permission of another party (the licensor).

          Implied licenses often arise where the licensee has purchased a physical embodiment of some intellectual property belonging to the licensor
          The patent holder is paid via impost on the hardware manufacturer, not the end user directly.

          The patent holder does NOT get a chance to charge the end user once again ... that would be "double dipping".
          Last edited by hal2k1; 06-27-2012, 09:39 AM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by kobblestown View Post
            That is a reasonable point. But my counterpoint is - haven't I already paid for a patent license when I bought the card? It shouldn't matter what part of a patent has been implemented by hardware and what by software - the patent holder got his license fees from the manufacturer.
            The hardware manufacturer only pays licence fees for IP that is embedded in the card. If S3TC is implemented in the software driver, it isn't embedded in the card, and the manufacturer of the card does not pay the patent holder for patents he has not used.

            When an end user buys the card, he has only (indirectly) paid for IP embedded in the card. If S3TC is implemented in the software driver for the card, the end user has not yet paid for a licence via his purchase of the card.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
              Err ... yes, you do.
              Nope, you don't. You have the right to use the product which implements the patent, but you get not a license to that patent. Obtaining a license for a patent is usually done to build a product which in some form implements the patent to distribute it further. You don't get that right just from buying a product.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by hal2k1 View Post
                The hardware manufacturer only pays licence fees for IP that is embedded in the card. If S3TC is implemented in the software driver, it isn't embedded in the card, and the manufacturer of the card does not pay the patent holder for patents he has not used.

                When an end user buys the card, he has only (indirectly) paid for IP embedded in the card. If S3TC is implemented in the software driver for the card, the end user has not yet paid for a licence via his purchase of the card.
                So on Windows I'm using the patent illegaly because I haven't paid separately for the driver (I downloaded it for free) and therefore I don't get a license for the software part of the patent? That doesn't make sense. And that's my point. By buying the card I have paid for every part of the patent - the patent holder will have made sure of that when they made the deal with the chip manufacturer (at least I assume it's the chip manufacturer, not the card manufacturer). And since they cannot really know who is using the manufacturer's driver and who isn't I am certain that the agreement is a license fee per unit. Otherwise the Windows driver wouldn't be free or I should be able to get a refund for not using the patent.

                I'm not trolling. I understand that when the patent is impemented in an open source driver it's a different implementation and may not be covered by the license granted to the original manufacturer. But I nevertheless maintain that this situation is double dipping bacuase I have already paid for using the patent - both the hardware and the software part (as per my argument in the previous paragraph). Maybe this particluar sitation is not tested in court. Or maybe it is and I don't know about it. But I think the situation is not as clear cut as you present it.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by kobblestown View Post
                  So on Windows I'm using the patent illegaly because I haven't paid separately for the driver (I downloaded it for free) and therefore I don't get a license for the software part of the patent? That doesn't make sense. And that's my point. By buying the card I have paid for every part of the patent - the patent holder will have made sure of that when they made the deal with the chip manufacturer (at least I assume it's the chip manufacturer, not the card manufacturer). And since they cannot really know who is using the manufacturer's driver and who isn't I am certain that the agreement is a license fee per unit. Otherwise the Windows driver wouldn't be free or I should be able to get a refund for not using the patent.

                  I'm not trolling. I understand that when the patent is impemented in an open source driver it's a different implementation and may not be covered by the license granted to the original manufacturer. But I nevertheless maintain that this situation is double dipping bacuase I have already paid for using the patent - both the hardware and the software part (as per my argument in the previous paragraph). Maybe this particluar sitation is not tested in court. Or maybe it is and I don't know about it. But I think the situation is not as clear cut as you present it.
                  Not at all. There are literally thousands of patents that are licensed royalty free and implemented in zero-cost software.

                  Here is a list of companies which cross-license each other for zero cost in order to make it possible to download Linux at zero cost yet include patented technologies:
                  http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php

                  This is quite a long list.

                  However, there is another mechanism that can apply to proprietary closed systems such as Windows. The pay-off for patent holders may not come from actual sales of software, but merely from the fact that the company offers users a high-performance zero cost driver for Windows, leading to many hardware sales for that company.

                  Having a patent means that one can require that users of the software get a valid license for the software. This gives one cotrol over what users can, and cannot do with the software and the hardware. One can control that non-supported operating systems, standards, platforms and architectures do not gain significant market share over supported ones. Alternatively, one can implement features in the software that are not in the best interests of the owner of the hardware. These are called anti-features, and DRM is an excellent example.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damaged_good#Anti-features

                  Fancy spending money buying something and yet not being in control of it! Who in their right mind would do that?

                  But anyway ... back to the point ... through having proprietary closed software, there are myriad ways patent holders can extract value from software other than actually charging users money to obtain that software.

                  The opposite side of this coin is the observation that there are large numbers of patents held which are purely defensive. The patent holders are not interested in extracting royalties for the "patented invention" *cough*, they are merely interested in holding patents of their own as a form of defense against other parties attacking them with patent claims.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by TobiSGD View Post
                    Nope, you don't. You have the right to use the product which implements the patent, but you get not a license to that patent. Obtaining a license for a patent is usually done to build a product which in some form implements the patent to distribute it further. You don't get that right just from buying a product.
                    Yes, you do.

                    You clearly don't understand what is meant by the term "license". A license is merely a grant of permission to do something that one would not normally be allowed to do. A driver's license is a grant of permission for a person to drive a vehicle on a public road. A fishing license is a grant of permission to fish. And so on.

                    With a patented invention, the patent holder has the right to grant or withold permission for everyone else to either USE that invention or to PRODUCE that invention. Everyone needs permission form the patent holder to do either ... one needs a license (a grant of permission from the patent holder) to make a product incorporating that invention, and one ALSO needs a license (a grant of permission from the patent holder) to merely use that resulting product.

                    So yes, you DO get an implied license (to USE the product) for any embedded patents when you purchase a physical item. Everyone who buys the item gets such a license. Anyone wishing to run hardware accelerated video decoding, for example, will have had to buy a graphics card ... so they do already have a license to use the hardware accelerated video decoding features physically on the card (even if they run Linux).

                    But you are right, they don't get a license to make cards. So? Who ever claimed that they did?
                    Last edited by hal2k1; 06-28-2012, 07:31 AM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by kobblestown View Post
                      So on Windows I'm using the patent illegaly because I haven't paid separately for the driver (I downloaded it for free) and therefore I don't get a license for the software part of the patent?
                      Whether you pay for the driver or not is immaterial. NVidia paid the license fees to use the patent in their software driver. The fact that they give that to you for free doesn't change the fact that they paid for it.

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