[Replicant] Wanting a freedom phone

Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli GNUtoo at cyberdimension.org
Tue Sep 7 12:38:14 UTC 2021


On Tue, 7 Sep 2021 10:04:03 +0200
"W. Kosior" <koszko at koszko.org> wrote:
> may I ask what are the remedies for patent threat?
For patents I'm not an expert.

As I understand here there are software patents but also hardware
patents.

For software patents we (the free software community at large) has
already good expertise on how to mitigate the risk.

As I understand we pressure governments at various levels to not
authorize patents, or when they are somewhat valid, work through their
abolition or make the law more harmless.

In conjunction with that, when attacked with good lawyers and community
defense (like fighting together along with community research to
invalidate patents) we sometimes win in countries where there are still
some (weak) patent laws that cover software.

We already have good information on all that, which includes the
end software patents project with its website and wiki (which has a
lot of information on court cases and so on)[1].

Court cases like the attack on Gnome[2] can also be studied to come up
with good defenses that work.

We also had a website dedicated to FLOSS related legal cases that
covered many lawsuits back in the days[3] that probably covered several
cases related to software patents when the laws governing software
patents in the USA were worse than what they are today.

For hardware patents I don't know much about them. I don't know if or
how that affect FPGAs or chips with hard-wired logic, or what
strategies that were effective against software patents could be reused.

So the best way would probably be to talk to companies that are
involved in making phones and that are friendly to the free software
community like Puri.sm or Pine64.

As for PCBs as I understand many companies derive their designs from
reference designs so I'm unsure in which way this affects patents.

Note that with hardware we should also not underestimate companies
pressure. 

For instance if you make a phone with an integrated modem and
you threaten the market share of some modem manufacturers that are
powerful you might also have harder times sourcing other components (in
large quantity with decent prices) due to pressure from companies. 

If however you only do a modem and that the modem is modular (like in
MPCIe or smaller form factor), and that you are independent enough, and
that phones also have standard connectors for your modem, then it would
be way harder to make any commercial pressure.

References:
-----------
[1]https://endsoftwarepatents.org/
[2]https://foundation.gnome.org/tag/patents/
[2]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groklaw

Denis.
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