Re: LZW patented file left in .orig.tar source package?
Jeff Licquia <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> I was under the impression that patents are use licenses, and are as
> such tied to the use you make of the objects covered by them. You can
> make a car engine that infringes on a particular patent, for example,
> without a license; you just can't put it in your car and drive around.
> If that particular configuration of metal just happens to be very good
> at distributing water to a row of plants in a garden, the patent holder
> is out of luck regarding my use of the engine as a watering can (unless
> s/he owns the patent on that use of the engine as well).
First, there are two types of patents: object patents and process
patents. In the case of an object patent, what is prohibited is the
production of the object.
Software patents are all process patents.
Using the process is certainly a violation.
But distributing a widget that with the intention that it be used to
violate is contributory infringement, and that's what happens if you
distribute a program that implements a patented algorithm.