Re: Bug#176267: ITP: mplayer -- Mplayer is a full-featured audioand video player for UN*X like systems
On Thursday, January 30, 2003, at 09:53 am, Glenn Maynard wrote:
"The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (effectively the final
on patent law, since the Supreme Court rarely takes patent cases) has
ruled that anyone who is not a patent attorney is not qualified to
determine the scope of the claims in a patent, and that it would be
unreasonable for you to determine that a particular patent is not
applicable to what you are doing unless you first get a legal opinion
from a patent attorney. Because, as a matter of law, you couldn't
have believed that you understood the patent (yes, our federal courts
can be quite condescending), you will likely be found liable for triple
damages if it turns out that you were wrong, and that you really are
infringing the patent.
Because of this, lawyers routinely advise their clients to avoid
reading patents in areas they are working in. The danger posed by the
willful infringement doctrine is seen as outweighing any benefit that
can be gained from reading patents."
(Someone else can go shoveling through caselaw. :)
It seems that what you are saying, then, is that we should completely
ignore any patent
issues until and unless we are prompted to do so by holders claiming
that we are infringing.
In fact, anyone who actually *researches* such things (or worse still,
comments on explicit issues on debian-legal) is exposing us/SPI/someone
to extra liability...
...or can we argue that we paid no attention whatsoever to an
unqualified opinion voiced on debian-legal, and so were no better
informed as to the potential infringement?
Hmm... taken to the extreme, anyone who has ever read *any* patent
would not be qualified to know that it did not apply to their work, and
so would be wilfully infringing.
Let's face it, the whole system is a bad joke and should be ignored to
as great an extent as possible.