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Re: Chinese Wall and software patents

 Kristian Erik Hermansen wrote: 
> Dan Ritter <[hidden email]> wrote: 
>> ...Sun's patents suggest that they don't want anyone reverse-engineering it... 
> You can get around the reversing-to-implementation problem using the Chinese 
> Wall methodology... 

A "Chinese Wall" - making sure the implementors have never seen the 
original code - only helps you avoid copyright infringement. Like if 
you're a PC clone manufacturer and you want to create a BIOS compatible 
with IBM's. 

This technique does nothing for avoiding patent infringement. That's why 
software patents are so dangerous. You can do a completely independent 
implementation of an algorithm, have no knowledge that the algorithm was 
even thought of before, and still be in violation. Open source is 
particularly vulnerable to such claims as the source is readily 
available for claim holders to inspect looking for violations. 

To avoid patent infringement you're better off carefully studying the 
existing implementation and its patents, so you can engineer around the 


Tom Metro 
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA 
"Enterprise solutions through open source." 
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