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tridge offers a new patch to Linux's VFAT filesystem

Jun 30, 2009, 12:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pamela Jones)

"Q1. Has this patch undergone legal review?

"A1. Both the original patch and the new patch that we posted today have been through legal review by several lawyers who specialize in this area. We can't post all of the details of those reviews, but John Lanza is CCd on this email, and hopefully he will be able to answer any questions that arise or if he can't answer some question he may be able to explain why he can't answer it. John is a patent attorney who represents the Linux Foundation.

"Q2. What can we safely post on LKML about patent infringement?

"A2. Almost nothing. Even a statement of the form "If A were the case, then B would result in infringement of patent C" is extremely dangerous. It allows a patent attorney to argue that truth or falsity of A is a legal question of fact, even if A is an obvious technical fallacy (remember that the patent holder can call on its own expert witnesses). The existence of a legal question of fact can be used to defeat a pre-trial summary judgment motion for noninfringement and dismissal of the lawsuit. The defeat of pre-trial summary judgment motions results in the suit going to trial, which is always quite expensive. The patent holder can be expected to choose a target that cannot afford a trial, resulting in a settlement or capitulation. The patent holder can then use the fact that target #1 settled to apply more pressure on targets #2, #3, and so on."

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