Subject: Re: Patent-based dual-licensing open source business model
From: Alan Hudson <giles@yumetech.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2006 08:25:56 -0700

Jamie Lokier wrote:
> Alan Hudson wrote:
> 
>>Of course to dole out the collected money you'd need something like the 
>>songs played analogy.  As a developer its almost impossible to know what 
>>patents I'm infringing/using.  So I don't know how you'd split the 
>>collected proceeds.
> 
> 
> Maybe regular statistical sampling of deployed software, to get a
> profile of which patents (or patent collections) are in use from year
> to year, without analysing every individual program?
> 
> The funding for surveys would come from a portion of the collected
> revenues.
> 
> It would be no bad thing to gather such data anyway.
> 
I'm not sure it would be possible.  Ie I'm a pretty knowledgeable 
developer in terms of IP.  But there is no way for me to keep track of 
all the patents in use and being filed.  Part of the problem with the 
system is the difficulty keeping in compliance.

I assume your sampling could not be automatic.  I expect a typical 
patent examiner or attorney could not do the analysis(ie does this code 
use patent A requires software knowledge).  Typical developer doesn't 
know the patent landscape.  I expect its a rarified person or requires a 
team to evaluate a codebase for patents.  Perhaps IP law firms do this 
already?

In the end I expect most codebases violate many patents.  As a developer 
I'd also argue that many patents are "stupid", but that's a different 
thread.  If the cost of compliance was reasonable I expect some 
developers/companies would license a pool for the known costs/risks.

-- 
Alan Hudson

President Yumetech, Inc.                               www.yumetech.com
President Web3D Consortium                             www.web3d.org
206 340 8900