Subject: Re: Open Source in E-Commerce
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 02:04:07 +0000 (/etc/localtime)

>>>>> "Bernard" == Bernard Lang <> writes:

    Bernard> Actually the confusion is different ... I assumed that
    Bernard> only the owner would be allowed to publish variations and
    Bernard> corrections. So it is a matter of free speech.

Well, on your assumption, it is a matter of free speech, true.

To answer the content of your objection first, as far as I know,
that's not the way patents work in practice.  Most patents are widely
licensed, often in bulk.  True, for really big wins (an AIDS drug,
eg), the holder will try to keep a monopoly for as long as possible,
but for most patents that's a silly strategy.  The preferred strategy
is to license a patent for something that others can easily work
around (but more effort than the licensing cost) in return for getting
a license to a technique for which your position is symmetric.

And as for _theory_, _anybody_ can publish a variation on a patent,
and probably patent it themselves.  (Of course, their _revenues_ will
be smaller due to the need for their licensees to also license the
original patent.)  _No_ issue of free speech whatsoever.

Sorry, your assumption is just plain wrong.

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