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Re: ARC patent

From: Greg Stark <gsstark(at)mit(dot)edu>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: ARC patent
Date: 2005-01-17 22:17:24
Message-ID: 87llarsnt7.fsf@stark.xeocode.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-hackers
Tom Lane <tgl(at)sss(dot)pgh(dot)pa(dot)us> writes:

> "John Hansen" <john(at)geeknet(dot)com(dot)au> writes:
> >> Unfortunately no. The document that inspired me to adapt ARC for 
> >> PostgreSQL is from the USENIX File & Storage Technologies 
> >> Conference (FAST), March 31, 2003, San Francisco, CA.
> 
> > Ahemm,... Isn't the patent lodged on may 20, 2004, AFTER you read the document from the above conference?
> 
> No, the filing date was in 2002.  I'm not sure what the May/04 date means;
> possibly the date of the last activity in that patent file?

Was the USENIX paper published from IBM? Was it the first publication of the
ARC algorithm? They have to file for the patent within 1 year of the first
publication. If it was published prior to Nov 2001 then perhaps an objection
could be filed on that issue.

Also, as far as I know the "we didn't know better" is in fact precisely an
issue with patents. If we didn't know about the ARC patent then IBM's only
remedy once the patent is issued would be to insist users stop using it. Only
if users refused (say because 8.1 still hadn't been released) could IBM then
start asking for damages.

It's clear Postgres developers know of the potential infringement so when and
if that patent is issued Postgres users will have to upgrade immediately to
avoid remedies that could include liability. Whereas for the myriad of
potential infringements on vaguely worded patents there's no risk beyond
having to cease the infringement.

Any idea what kind of timescale the patent application is on? Will it be
another year or two before it's issued or is it possible it'll be issued prior
to 8.1 being released? Though I suppose it would always be possible to release
an 8.0.x with ARC removed for users like Fujitsu or SRA concerned with
liability.


-- 
greg


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