Subject: IC covenant confusion
From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 08:56:42 -0700

I'm confused about something:

Mr. Cameron says:

  Rob> Also, commercial use of open source is OK with us,
  Rob> provided any code modifications are given back.  It is
  Rob> actual commerce in infringing systems that matters.


but earlier, speaking of IC's covenant, Mr. Rosen says:

  Stephen>> Patent law is not copyright law, it cover this
  Stephen>> situation, and IC made it clear that if the "medium"
  Stephen>> is actually hardware (computer+memory) then you need
  Stephen>> a license.

  Lawrence> Stephen is right. We consider this hardware. If
  Lawrence> software is preinstalled on hardware, then it is a
  Lawrence> combination. The issue is not whether it is "bit for
  Lawrence> bit identical" (that's a copyright issue) but
  Lawrence> whether the product embodies our patent claims.


Aren't you contradicting one another?

Consider a network appliance vendor who has received a GPLed
program embodying the invention.  And suppose that IC has never
itself distributed this program.   And the vendor sells these
boxes to the public, satisfying the GPL source requirements.

According to Mr. Cameron, that's sufficient for the vendor to be
protected by the IC covenant.  According to Mr. Rosen, no, the
vendor needs a license.

Which is it?

(A possible answer is simply "neither": that the conditions of
the GPL weren't satisfied when the vendor got a copy of the
program and consequently he has no rights at all to use the
program.)

-t