[ODE] Quickstep and patents

Jon Watte (ODE) hplus-ode at mindcontrol.org
Thu Jun 7 16:42:21 MST 2007

Patrick Enoch wrote:
> I too, am Mathematician. It seems my question still remains: is it a  
> patent on "the sum of all parts" or "all parts individually"??
> (If BMW has a patent on their engine, they dont hold patents on every  
> single screw. Someone brought the car idea up.)

A patent covers each individual claim in the patent. However, only a few 
of those claims will be independent; most of them will require whatever 
is described in a previous claim. In Europe, you're only allowed a 
single independent claim, the "root claim," AFAICT; in the US, you're 
allowed several.

> I am not a lawyer (see above), but doesnt the right to sue someone  
> vanish after a while, IF you know other ppl are using your patent  
> "illegally"? So it becomes "customary law"? Agaia knows about ODE for  
> quite a while and they didnt do anything against it.

No. That may be true for copyright, but it is not true for patents. 
Patents give you a right to an invention, much like a deed gives you the 
right to a certain plot of land. Whether you let some people use it, and 
others not, does not affect your ownership of that invention, much like 
letting some people onto your lot and keeping other people out will not 
affect your ownership of the land. This is one very important difference 
between patent law and copyright law. At least in the US. And, as far as 
I know, because I am not a lawyer.

> How far does this patent reach, does it reach from the US to Europe?  
> I have customers all over the world that use my product.

A patent affects anyone doing business in the country where the patent 
is issued/valid. For example, if there is a European patent for "silent 
velcro" then someone making silent velcro in China and selling it to the 
US will not be affected. However, someone re-exporting that silent 
velcro to a buyer in Europe would be affected. Companies generally 
attempt to get key patents for a number of key markets.

International law is, in general, very complicated. For example, if you 
have an extensive collection of wines and spirits, or a collection of 
works of fine art, they may be very hard to bring with you to other 
countries, because what's a delicacy in one country might be outlawed in 
another, and what's fine art in one country might be considered obscene 
in another. Patent law is, unfortunately, no better.


          / h+

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