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Re: lzw patent search (fwd)

On Tue, 11 Mar 2003 11:30:00 -0500, Glenn Maynard <g_deb@zewt.org> wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 09:31:07AM -0600, Drew Scott Daniels wrote:
> > Hmm, did they just tell me that there were other patents to scare me?
> > Maybe a search with the keyword LZW may be enough?
> As you're not exactly sure what you're looking for, isn't this rather
> futile (and possibly dangerous[1]) without a lawyer?
> [1] http://www.advogato.org/article/7.html

I agree. A good article. Since Unisys is unwilling to quote any patent
details or references I will assume that I have not been informed of any
patent and should not be liable for willfully infringing on a patent
(except the "basic lzw" patent and only if attempt to use it without a

I do not know of any other lzw other patent other than the "basic LZW"
patent. I have been informed by the holder as to its expiry date. I have
been warned that there are patents on "lzw variants". I do not know what
any kind of LZW variant could be. I know that LZW is a variant of LZ. I do
not intend to include LZW related code in any project that I write. I
would be willing to give Unisys other peoples code that includes LZW for
their evaluation, but I would not accept an answer of their patent
covering the code unless a second patent lawyer agreed. I would seek the
advice of a patent lawyer should I be given any indication that I would be
infringing upon a patent.

There reference to ask me to see my patent lawyer is probably a good
idea. Steven Young's article seems to indicate Debian and its developers
can be safe if they just consult a patent lawyer. It may also not be an
unreasonable assumption to think that someone else may make that
information available and so Debian could rely on that second hand advice.
Second hand information could still be considered a "judgment" made by a
patent lawyer and thus Debian and it's downstream would not be liable for
willful infringement.

It's very annoying to think that if one tried to do research to comply
with a law they get punished more harshly.

     Drew Daniels

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