Finger Graffiti

Michael Welter mike at
Mon Jul 30 13:55:08 CEST 2007

You're correct--I was thinking patent issues rather than trademark issues.

Joe Pfeiffer wrote:
> Here's the most important thing I'm going to say in this message:
> IANAL, so everything I write below is speculation.
> Michael Welter writes:
>> Rude or not, I'm posing a question to the community.  If our 
>> developments do infringe on someone's patent, who are they going to sue? 
>>  Me?  You?  FIC?  All of us?
> A minor point -- of course, we're talking about trademarks here, not
> patents.
>> Let's say we had a multi-touch display, and 20 developers developed some 
>> scrolling gestures.  Who is Apple going to sue?
> Seems like the normal action in a lawsuit is to go after everybody in
> sight, especially the ones with deep pockets.  So I'd guess, at a
> minimum, the twenty developers and FIC.
> But... it's awfully hard to prove damages when something is
> distributed for free.  And the current patent situation is so chaotic
> that nobody really knows who is infringing on what patents, nor
> whether those patents would be found valid if the lawsuit happened.
> That's especially true now that the (US) Supreme Court has demanded
> that the lower courts apply a less ridiculous standard for obviousness
> than they had been.  Combine that with some really big guns out there
> (especially IBM) donating several hundred patents with a no-sue
> pledge, contingent on people using those patents not suing free
> software developers, and I'm not worried about infringing patents.
> I have a lot more respect for a real trademark owner (as opposed to
> the various scum out there who have tried stunts like registering a
> trademark on Linux before Torvalds did) than I do a possible patent.

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