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Re: Debian's problems, Debian's future

On Tue, Apr 09, 2002 at 10:58:24AM +0200, Michael Bramer wrote:
> On Tue, Apr 09, 2002 at 06:39:19PM +1000, Martijn van Oosterhout wrote:
> > I beleive this method is patented by somebody, [snip]
> has someone a pointer? 

Here's some stuff from my mail archives - I haven't checked whether
the links still work. The following one probably doesn't, but looks
like the patent number is 6167407:'6167407'.WKU.&OS=PN/6167407&RS=PN/6167407



  __   _
  |_) /|  Richard Atterer     |  CS student at the Technische  |  GnuPG key:
  | \/¯|  http://atterer.net  |  Universität München, Germany  |  0x888354F7
  ¯ '` ¯

----- Forwarded message from Clifford Heath <cjh@osa.com.au> -----

Date: 29 Jan 2001 10:05:11 +1100
From: "Clifford Heath" <cjh@osa.com.au>
Sender: rsync-admin@us5.samba.org
To: "Goswin Brederlow" <goswin.brederlow@student.uni-tuebingen.de>
Cc: rsync@us5.samba.org
Subject: Re: reverse checksumming [legal] 

> What came first, rsync or the patent?

OSA refers to its issued patent US6006034 as the "SmartPull" patent.  This
isn't the patent that threatens rsync, though it might be relevant to some
of the preceeding discussion. I haven't considered whether there's any
overlap with rsync itself - in any case I doubt OSA would attempt to block
use of rsync.  We think that rsync is wonderful!

The patent that may overlap with rsync is US5446888 and its followup number
US5721907, with precedence date Jan 14 1994.  I am not a lawyer, but it
seems to directly conflict with rsync.  I've had correspondence with the
rights holders, as OSA wished to implement something similar in a product
but held off until licensing concerns were addressed. They are Travelling
Software Inc. (TSI), and refer to the technology as "SpeedSync", using it in
their LapLink product line.  At the time of my last contact (August 1999),
Travelling Software had "not made a determination if rsync infringes on any
intellectual property right of TSI or not."  Read the patent and decide for
yourself. I'm not qualified to hold a legal opinion.

The patent clearly identifies which operations are performed on the host
sending the file, and which on the host receiving it. We discovered a method
which reversed many of the operations with substantial benefit (as Tim
Adam has told you), and filed a patent to this effect, with a defensive
intent. This latest patent has not issued (it's "pending").  So we have no
rights (yet!) to ask you to cease and desist from implementing and using it.
Be aware that this might change in the future. I personally believe (and
think OSA agrees) that it would be counter-productive to the industry as a
whole, but it's not my decision.  Who knows, OSA itself might be sold to
some sharks who think differently...

> This is just the rsync algorithm and thats probably way older than the
> patent, so the patent might not hold.

I don't believe that rsync is older, but in any case it's difficult and
expensive to challenge an issued patent over prior art, and I don't think
that Tridge is likely to do that.  If you fear a suit from TSI and would
choose a "prior art" defense, you will need Tridge's help, as only he could
establish priority.

> Can the text of the Patent be found anywhere online?


Clifford Heath, Open Software Associates, mailto:cjh@osa.com.au,
Ph +613 9895 2194, Fax 9895 2020, <http://www.osa.com.au/~cjh>,
56-60 Rutland Rd, Box Hill 3128, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

----- End forwarded message -----

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