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From: Greg Maxwell <g...@linuxpower.cx>
Subject: Patent
Date: 1999/11/03
Message-ID: <fa.e0ha65v.14lma98@ifi.uio.no>#1/1
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I thought you all might want to know:

Almost all Linux kernels today are infringing on US patent #5,806,063 

The infringing code is in linux/arch/i386/kernel/time.c:get_cmos_time.

It deals with using 'windowing' to convert non-y2k-ok dates into 4 digit
dates.

(http://164.195.100.11/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=
/netahtml/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=curr&s1='McDonnell+Douglas'
&s2='year+2000'&OS='McDonnell+Douglas'+AND+'year+2000'&RS='McDonnell+Douglas'
+AND+'year+2000')

Nevermind the fact that Linux had this code more then a year before the
patent was applied for. :)

How does the GPL look opon this, can I still distribute Linux since I
dont agree with the patent? If I (as say a linux distro) license the
patent (to cover my ass) could I still distribute Linux?

Could we somehow use this to make McDonnell Douglas Corporation (patent
holder) remove all their Linux? :) :) :)

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From: "Theodore Y. Ts'o" <ty...@mit.edu>
Subject: Re: Patent
Date: 1999/11/03
Message-ID: <fa.g42iu6v.164euoa@ifi.uio.no>#1/1
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To: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
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   Date:   Wed, 3 Nov 1999 12:12:58 +0000 (GMT)
   From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>

   > Almost all Linux kernels today are infringing on US patent #5,806,063 

   No. The Linux code predates it.

Indeed, the best thing to do is ignore it.  Let the patent holders try
to sue us first, at which point it can be defeated pretty easily.

It would be interesting for someone to set up a www.priorart.org web
site, dedicated towards finding and exposing stupid USPTO tricks; the
problem is that it would be a legal lightening rod, and it would have to
be careful to disclaim that it was giving anything that might be
construed as legal advice, or inducements to infringe patents (valid or
otherwise); but just as a data repository of data that might or might
not be accurate.  Followups on this should go elsewhere, as it's not
really a kernel issue.

							- Ted

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From: Richard Stallman <r...@gnu.org>
Subject: Re: Patent
Date: 1999/11/04
Message-ID: <fa.gvor46v.18g2p8a@ifi.uio.no>#1/1
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Original-Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 00:38:49 -0700 (MST)
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    Nevermind the fact that Linux had this code more then a year before the
    patent was applied for. :)

I will ask our lawyer to double-check whether Linux constitutes prior
art for the patent.  If it does, it would be grounds to render the
patent invalid.

Could you tell mre precisely what Linux does with the dates, and in
what context, for what purpose?  The lawyer may need to know those
things.

    If I (as say a linux distro) license the
    patent (to cover my ass) could I still distribute Linux?

If the patent license you get covers redistribution by the people who
get copies indirectly from you, that is consistent with the GPL.
However, if the license does not cover this, if you would not be able
to extend that permission to redistributors, you would not be able to
distribute in a way that satisfies the GPL.

The situation is the same whether you are distributing just Linux or a
whole Linux-based GNU system.

I don't think you need to worry about getting a license for this
particular patent, though.


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