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From: Terje Slettebø (tslettebo_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-11-30 13:09:04

>From: "David Abrahams" <dave_at_[hidden]>

> Terje Slettebø <tslettebo_at_[hidden]> writes:
> >>From: "David Abrahams" <dave_at_[hidden]>
> >
> >> My meeting with a technology lawyer at Harvard last week led me to
> >> believe that boost authors are already opened up to having to defend
> >> against a patent suit. We are responsible for our own actions. No
> >> matter what we write down, if we violate copyright or patent
> >> restrictions, we can be held liable.
> >
> > Yes, but wasn't the point of the license to possibly protect the
> > authors against lawsuits from _users_ of the library, if it later
> > turns out to contain patented code?
> It is my understanding that warranting something that turns out to be
> false offers the author less protection than warranting nothing at
> all.

Right. So saying anything about no infringement on known patents, could then
be a false sense of security. It won't help anyone using the code, and it
might make more risk for the claimer.

Yet, if no disclaimer, of any kind (not just patents) are made, couldn't
that give less protection? What I mean is like a quote from earlier in this

"This software is provided without express or implied warranty, and with no
claim as to its suitability for any purpose."

Without it, someone _might_ sue, because there was no disclaimer. However, I
guess this is up to lawyers to assess, whether it would be an advantage or

> > However, is it necessary to do anything about that? In other words,
> > did CompuServe risk lawsuits from the users of the GIF format, when
> > it turned out to be patented, and CompuServe was unaware of it?
> IMHO, yes. But AFAICT in this litigious society, everything we do in
> the public sphere entails a legal risk. A lawsuit can be brought by
> anyone, claiming almost anything, for almost any reason. A lawsuit
> with no merit whatsoever will be likely to be thrown out early, but
> not neccessarily.

I'm reminded of a Dilbert strip, where Dilbert is asked to run a contract by
the company lawyer:

Lawyer: I can't approve this contract, because someone might sue us for no
good reason.
Dilbert: That's true of any contract. Isn't he using absurd logic?
Dogbert: Let's find out. (To the lawyer) Approve this contract, or I'll sue
you for the obstruction of dogs!
Lawyer: Ok, ok...!




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