[Mageia-dev] About panotools patent problem (and other problematic rpms)

Romain d'Alverny rdalverny at gmail.com
Tue Feb 22 11:04:26 CET 2011

On Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 10:57, Michael Scherer <misc at zarb.org> wrote:
> Le vendredi 18 février 2011 à 10:13 +0100, Philippe DIDIER a écrit :
>> Just seen that mikala added panotools in the repository . (some
>> algorythms library to build panoramic photographs)
>> Very happy with this ! (thanks a lot...)
>> That's one of the first patent problems we may encounter :

Yes, that's a good sample to use to improve our policy draft.

>> Long time ago,

How long is a "long time ago"? because every patent has a term and
here it may have expired.

>> iPIX, a company from USA muliplied patent lawsuit against
>> these free algorythms inventor and photographers using them (this
>> company is now dead because of bankruptcy but the patent problem is
>> still live... )
> Well, who own the patents now ?

>From http://wiki.panotools.org/Ipix it looks a former competitor got a
hold on all assets from iPix.

On the decision/sorting out side, for this and for any other patent
issue, do we document already (in source code or a separate file) the
reasons to activate or not pieces of a software (or to exclude them
from packages), because of some patents?

List of questions to check would be at least:
 - what is exactly covered by what patent (reference, registration,
territory/ies for which it has been registered)?
 - where is it implemented exactly in the source code? (
 - who owns this patent?
 - did the patent holder announce his clear intention upon it? (that
is, is he using it to control/restrain use or not? *)
 - are there obvious prior art that could make this patent obviously invalid?
 - what is decided and when (and what may change the decision, later)?
 - what would be alternative ways to implement the function (if the
patent does not just cover the function, but a specific implementation
of it)?

* one does not necessarily register a patent to be offensive with it;
here, we knew about iPix, what about the new holder?

Btw, a draft policy for patents management was discussed among
founders and other people (lawyers) months ago and a tentative summary
written by me here:
http://mageia.org/wiki/doku.php?id=software_patents_policy .



More information about the Mageia-dev mailing list