Subject: Re: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
From: "David H. Lynch Jr." <>
Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 04:51:30 -0400

Thomas Lord wrote:
> Anderson, Kelly wrote:
>> I don't know about the interaction of "prior art" and
>> trade secrets, but there are some interesting questions in that realm,
>> to be sure.
> Having done a bunch of layperson reading on this recently, I'll try
> to summarize on that point.   If you treat my reading as if I were a
> legal professional, you get what you deserve :-)
> A patent protects rights to use the content of an idea 
    As a non-lawyer I have no idea what it is a patent now protects -
though I think the courts and legislature have lost control of this too.
    Once upon a time a good lay persons understanding would have been
that patents protect implimentations not ideas.
    One of the reasons the patent office used to require working models
was specifically because you could not patent ideas.
    You could patent a specific way to accomplish something that was
do-able with the technology of the time. It did not require much in the
way of variation
    to avoid infringing - because it was not considered possible to
patent the underlying idea.
    A series of court cases and congressional reaction in the 1980's
basically obliterated whatever was left of that conception.
    It was actually a bad conception anyway - the distinction between an
idea and its implimentation is artificial.
    There is a common misperception that technology has required the law
to adapt - advancing technology just tends to expose the
    weakness of the philosophical underpinnings of bad law.

> A trade secret treatment restricts rights about the expression of

    My lay perception of a Trade Secret is that it the legal structure
that has the most legitimacy.
    You can keep an idea secret. The common perception of the meaning of
secret does not diverge much from the legal perception.

    Whether a good idea or a bad idea it is a more honest idea than
other forms of "intellectual property".

Dave Lynch 					  	    DLA Systems
Software Development:  				         Embedded Linux
fax: 1.253.369.9244 			           Cell: 1.717.587.7774
Over 25 years' experience in platforms, languages, and technologies too numerous to

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of
genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
Albert Einstein