[Mageia-dev] [RFC] move cairo-dock to tainted because of trademark/patent issues

blind Pete 0123peter at gmail.com
Thu Nov 10 09:40:36 CET 2011

on Thu, 10 Nov 2011 07:15
in the Usenet newsgroup gmane.linux.mageia.devel
Michael Scherer wrote:

> Le mercredi 09 novembre 2011 à 14:14 +0100, Florian Hubold a écrit :
>> Hi there,
>> after updating cairo-dock and -plugins to the latest version,
>> it has come to my attention that cairo-dock has been removed
>> from Fedora due to patent issues, as can be seen here:
>> http://pkgs.fedoraproject.org/gitweb/?p=cairo-
>> I've found no further explanation about this so far.
>> The corresponding patent (from Apple) should be this one:
>> http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-
>> IMHO this Apple patent should not have been issued because of prior art:
>> http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Apple_Dock but currently it's effective and we need to 
>> respect it.
> The base claim is indeed weak. 
>> A related discussions about cairo-dock and trademarks of
>> some of the included icons in cairo-dock-plugins can be seen here:
>> http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/legal/2009-January/000505.html
>> To be honest, i don't think this was appropriate as those icons
>> clearly seem to come from the game pingus, which is FL/OSS.
>> So i request cairo-dock and cairo-dock-plugins and cairo-dock-themes
>> be moved to tainted. Any objections?

You guys *really* need to talk to a lawyer.  Then when you know 
how things work you will be able to make sensible decisions.  

Maybe I can prime you with some background that I hope will be 

1.  Free legal advice is worth what you pay for it.  ;-)
    Don't trust what I write - just take it as a starting point.  

2.  Laws vary enormously from one jurisdiction to another. 
    Where are you?  Your company?  Your assets?  Your 
    employees?  Are you ever likely to travel to, or though 
    barbaric counties where you could be dragged of the 
    plane and jailed for something like wearing lipstick in 
    the past - even though it was perfectly legal at the time 
    and place that you did it?  

3.  There could be serious translation difficulties.  Where I 
    am, patents and trademarks are very different things.  That 
    might be different in the French language and French / 
    European law.  I suspect that you are confusing two 
    different things that you need to understand.  Talk to 
    a lawyer.  

4.  Do the terms; sell, give away, sell for a profit, sell at 
    cost, and non-profit organisation, have good French 
    translations?  Are those terms legally relevant to you?  

5.  There is such a thing as a world wide patent *application*, 
    but there is no such thing as a world wide patent.  Almost 
    all countries acknowledge such an application, but they 
    do there own thing and have to be paid separately to finish 
    the job.  

I don't even know what you would call such a professional.  
Here an IP lawyer is a specialist in intellectual property, 
not internet protocols.  ;-)  Perhaps you want a patent attorney.  

> Yes, I do have one, I think we agreed that tainted was for enforced
> patents, or those that would likely be enforced. While the definition is
> fuzzy, I doubt that the patent will be enforced, mainly because it is
> weak, 

Patented?  That would stop me SELLING stuff, if someone has a valid 
patent in my jurisdiction, but if I am not selling then all patents 
are irrelevant.  Check this with a local professional!  
> Red Hat lawyers are right for a US company, but we are not in the same
> position as Red Hat ( ie, we are not in the US, we are not a company
> with several millions on the bank account and no one will ever attack us
> because we are competing with them ).

Red Hat is selling stuff for profit in the US, a very different 

> For the icons, what is the problem exactly, ie what icons are
> copyrighted ?

Patents, trademarks and copyright are different things, at least 
where I am.  Learn the difference, if there is one where you are.  

Get competent legal advice then decide whether to run for the 
hills or stand your ground and be prepared to say, "If you can 
point to a valid French patent we will not sell that".  

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