[Haskell-cafe] Software patents covered in GHC?
Manuel M T Chakravarty
chak at cse.unsw.edu.au
Fri Jun 24 15:28:09 CEST 2011
Erik de Castro Lopo:
> Manuel M T Chakravarty wrote:
>> In fact, you are better of not to know. Given that GHC (like all
>> non-trivial software) surely infringes on some patents, the damages
>> that a patent holder can sue you for are less if you do not know about
>> the patents you are infringing on. IIRC, a plaintiff can triple the
>> charges if they can reasonably show that you have been aware of the
>> patents that you are infringing on. Nasty business!
> ON the up side, the fact that GHC is Open Source software available
> from a public repository and a lot of what is in GHC is published
> in papers which are widely and freely available on the internet
> means that stuf fthat was in GHC first can never be patented (or
> at least can be successfully challenged when it is).
That's right, but it doesn't help any of us anything. The costs of defending against a patent claim (even if the claim can eventually be overturned) are much to high to bear for anybody, but major corporations. In other words, it doesn't matter if you are right or wrong if you can't pay the legal bill. This is not just theory as a fair number of mobile app developer recently found out:
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