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Subject: RE: Rockbox Intellectual Property question
From: Jonah, Jim (Jim.Jonah_at_compuware.com)
Date: 2003-05-20


IANAL,

Since you've "published" the work it's now prior art. The question is, will
the patent office find this work when they do the search? Based on the
patents they are issuing they are not doing a good job of searching.

The best way to protect it is the file for a Patent (defensively) yourself.
You can always assign stewardship of the patent to an organization such as
EFF, etc. and a declare it for free for use in open source projects. You
could also do a dual license - free for open source, pay for non-open
source, non-free usage. You could have the revenues go to your favorite Open
Source organization to fund pro-open source lobbyists (which, sad to say,
will be required in the near future, I fear).

Even when prior art exists many companies just won't spend the 500k or more
it takes to fight it in court. So I wouldn't count on prior art protecting
your excellent idea.

Jim

(My personal opinions - they may or may not my employers opinions)

-----Original Message-----
From: ds2list [mailto:ds2list_at_yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2003 2:32 PM
To: rockbox_at_cool.haxx.se
Subject: Rockbox Intellectual Property question

With all the Intellectual Property controversies going on in the
open-source world right now (SCO vs. Linux/IBM, etc.), I was
wondering if there is any way to protect innovative features of
open source projects like Rockbox from idea stealing by companies.

Specifically, I was thinking about my Talkbox patch. I've not seen
that feature on any other personal mp3 players, and I'd like it to
stay something that is owned by the Open Source community. Is there
any way to ensure this. Is there a way of demonstrating "prior art"
with project like Rockbox, so that a company like Apple/Creative
would think twice before copying a new Rockbox feature to an I-Pod
or Nomad? Or is the philosophy of the project to allow this
kind of "borrowing"? Are unique features of an open-source project
"patentable" by the project?

-Danan

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