[Bf-committers] Guidelines for developer logs, docs & blogs

Bogomir Bogomirov bb at bogomirov.org
Thu Sep 1 04:16:33 CEST 2011

Hm, I'm kind of confused by an (apparent) contradiction, which might be a matter of definitions, I guess.

As far as I know, a patent protects the commercial exploitation of an idea embedded in a product when, and only when that happens in a specific jurisdiction. So "patent infringement" would make sense when a legal entity attempts to sell a product that allegedly contains IP, patented in the same jurisdiction. And since the content of all patents is public, an infringement by "not knowing" seems to be a weak excuse.

For the sake of the discussion however, let's assume the product under question is given away for free. In this context I see no commercial exploitation, nor subsequent profit to be penalized. And no case, correct me if I am wrong.


-----Original Message-----
From: bf-committers-bounces at blender.org [mailto:bf-committers-bounces at blender.org] On Behalf Of Benjamin Tolputt
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2011 3:59 AM
To: bf-blender developers
Cc: Matt Ebb
Subject: Re: [Bf-committers] Guidelines for developer logs, docs & blogs

On 1/09/2011 10:27 AM, Matt Ebb wrote:
> I believe the idea is: "don't mention other applications or they might
> accuse you of stealing ideas from them". i.e. as far as I know, it's better
> to infringe on a patent by accident than it is to do it knowingly, so try to
> avoid making it seem like you know of other similar functionality in other
> apps. To me this seems a bit paranoid, but I think that interpretation is
> the intent of Ton's advice.

Depending on the jurisdiction involved (*cough* the US *cough*), patent 
infringement can level up to treble the damages for "wilful 
infringement". For it to be wilful, one needs to first prove knowledge 
of said patent. Referencing other applications that explicitly reference 
the patents they hold or are applying for is simply making this easy for 
patent trolls.

Whether Ton is doing it for this reason or something else, it is not 
actually paranoid behaviour to avoid this issue by doing as he suggests. 
In fact, it has been legal advice I've received multiple times in my 
career regarding the insanity of software patents.


Benjamin Tolputt
Analyst Programmer

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