Subject: A possible patent for the free software / Open Source world.
From: "L. Peter Deutsch" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 12:23:28 -0700

OK folks, I have a concrete situation on which I would like to take a poll
of the people who have been following this discussion.  I have reason to
believe that I have found a method that clearly works around a certain
widely disliked patent.  The method itself may be patentable.  Assuming it
is, what do you think I should do?

	1) Publish it, don't try to patent it.

	2) Patent it.

	3) Other (please specify).

If you choose (2), how do you think I should pay the cost of researching,
preparing, and filing the patent?  (This cost is likely to be hundreds,
perhaps thousands of dollars.)

	A) Eat the cost as a contribution to the free software world.

	B) License the patent for a fee.

	C) Request contributions from the community to cover costs (possibly
	in the form of free legal assistance).

	D) Other (please specify).

If you choose (C) or (if relevant) (D), do you think I should withhold use
of the patent until I've recovered my costs?  (I believe that it is
extremely unlikely I will recover those costs unless I do so.)

If you think I should obtain a patent, under what terms do you think I
should license it?

	P) License it to anyone who wants it without fee or restriction.
	(Pretty much equivalent to not obtaining a patent at all, except for
	the effect on my resume.)

	Q) License it for use in free / Open Source software without a fee,
	and to no one else.

	R) License it for use in free / Open Source software without a fee,
	and to others for a fee.

	S) Participate in a pool of the kind we've been discussing.

	T) Other (please specify).

Note that some of (P) through (T) are incompatible with some of (B) through

I appreciate any other comments you may have on this topic.

I'd prefer it if you reply to me individually, not the whole list.  I expect
(hope for) a lot of responses.  I'll report on the poll results in a few
weeks, once all the responses have trickled in.

				Thanks -

L. Peter Deutsch         |       Aladdin Enterprises ::::
203 Santa Margarita Ave. | tel. +1-650-322-0103 (AM only); fax +1-650-322-1734
Menlo Park, CA 94025     |