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Re: new-maintainer vs patents.

Hi Dariush Pietrzak,

> Hello,
>  I've been asked to provide the list of patents that my package
> may/may not be possibly infriging on.

What package? By whom?

>  As you can imagine this task is way beyond my capabilities,
> so what should one do with this?
> Are all package maintainers required to do this?

Not that I am aware of [NB: I'm not a Debian developer]

> Is there some policy about which patents do we ignore and which do we
> respect?

The rule of thumb here seems to be to not discuss particular patents
unless there is an unavoidable issue because it might impact upon whether
developers/users/list subscribers are found to be committing willful
patent infringement. Check out this link:[0]

   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. This state of affairs, of course,
   negates even the theoretical benefit of the patent system, that the
   public at large learns about new technology once it is patented. As it
   stands, the people who should be learning from patents in any given
   field are the same people who stand to lose the most if they dare to
   take a peek.

When people find out the software you intend to package it may be obvious
that there are clear patent issues. But I don't think anyone wants you to
try to locate applicable software patents in every country!


[0] http://groups.google.com/groups?q&selm=20030129212006%2476db%40gated-at.bofh.it 
(also read through the thread)

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