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Re: [Richard Stallman <rms@gnu.org>] Re: Debian & BSD concerns

On Thu, Mar 11, 1999 at 08:51:42PM -0600, John Hasler wrote:
> A slimy character could release a program as free software but patent a key
> algorthm, and then demand royalties from everyone who uses the program.

IMHO patents protect *methods* of producing "things", and not cover the
use of the thing itself.

If the manufacturer of your car infringed someone else patent while
manufacturing your car, you, as owner of one car, cannot be sued by the
patent holder.
The patent holder can sue the manufacturer and get money for every car

So a patent holder which creates a GLP sw using his patent is granting
use of the patent to anybody else (because he CHOOSES GPL).

If the creator of the sw infringes someone else patent than he can be
sued, not the users of the sw. But the patent owner can force the
creator of the sw to retire his product (and if you have paid for that,
of if you get a damage because of this, you can sue the creator of the

But anyway this is questionable, when ther eis no commerce involved.
In most country, the law explicitly says that protection is only against
*commercial* use of the patent.
In Europe schools do not have to license patents to use them while
teaching, when teaching how to produce that thing.
And several goods are not patentable: medicines and algorithms, for
example ...

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