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

Bruce Sass <bsass@bms.freenet.edmonton.ab.ca> writes:

> You could say I'm wondering if there is anything inherent in a patent
> holders rights that puts a limit on just how free a patent algorithm can
> be with respect to licensing.

There isn't. However, at some point it becomes pointless to uphold a
patent. Contrary to copyright, patents don't exist automatically,
and there is usually a tax on keeping them alive.

So if a patent owner were to want the use of his invention to become
free for everybody, he could simply refrain from renewing the patent,
or from patenting it in the first place.

The fact that he once held a patent on the invention (or, never took
a patent a all but simply published his invention and possibly got a
notary public to witness that) would automatically render null and
void any patents anyone else later applied for regarding the same

So: the only reason that a patent exists at all is that the owner
intends to use the power it gives him, and discussing how little
he's allowed to try to use it is somewhat academical.

Henning Makholm

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