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More b-d patents
Hey, here are more patent favorites...
By Harald Albrecht on 7 May, 2001 - 5:19 am

Hey, here are more favorites: * Wonderware, for 6,198,480, filed 1999/01/29: "Object-oriented tag browser". * Rockwell, for 6,161,051, filed 1998/5/8: "System, method and article of manufacture for utilizing external models for enterprise wide control". Could someone please unlash rms on them? Oh, that process has also been patented already... Harald -- Harald Albrecht Chair of Process Control Engineering RWTH Aachen University of Technology Turmstrasse 46, D-52064 Aachen, Germany Tel.: +49 241 80-7703, Fax: +49 241 8888-238 _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Amy Critchley on 7 May, 2001 - 8:34 am

I'm not sure what ever happened with this and what the implications really are for the controller world, Control Technology Corporation was awarded a US patent (patent number 5805442) for machine controllers with integrated webserver capability. ??? -Amy Critchley (formerly Amy McMillen) _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Greg Goodman on 7 May, 2001 - 1:26 pm

You'll find this issue discussed at length, including a first-hand account from Ken Crater, the original filer, in the control.com archives from March of this year: http://www1.control.com/control_com/983813199/index_html#984414920 _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Curt Wuollet on 7 May, 2001 - 11:57 am

Hi Harald All of these are sure to fall subject to prior art if not "obviousness". The only thing new is that they are related to automation. The general computing world has been doing these for many years. Our patent system works on the golden rule. Your patent stands because it's not economically feasible to contest it. Then you auction it off and people buy it, not because it's right but because it's cheaper than fighting for justice. I was ambivalent for a while but, I'm coming around to the view that software patents are universally bad. They are not inherently evil, but the system is being manipulated and exploited by people who haven't really invented much. That is to say, they do more bad than good. I'm not sure how the system can be fixed, but when 90% of the working programmers can see what the PO can not, something is badly broken. I'm sure someone has a patent on the for next loop and they're just biding their time. Regards cww _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Mark Bayern on 7 May, 2001 - 4:41 pm

At 07:12 PM 5/7/01 -0500, you wrote: >Hi Harald > >All of these are sure to fall subject to prior art if >not "obviousness". The only thing new is that they >are related to automation. Yep, I just checked on the date and our Lotus 1-2-3 add-in was being marketed in 1988. This add-in allowed you to communicate via OMRON Hostlink to any Hostlink enabled device, ie an OMRON PLC. Wonder what the date on the patent is? <smile> Mark _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Harald Albrecht on 7 May, 2001 - 4:49 pm

For those too lazy to direct their browser to the US blatant patent office, patent 5,038,318 was filed December 17, 1987 and granted on August 6, 1991. Hmmm. You could face a problem due the date the claim was filed ;) Harald -- Harald Albrecht Chair of Process Control Engineering RWTH Aachen University of Technology Turmstrasse 46, D-52064 Aachen, Germany Tel.: +49 241 80-7703, Fax: +49 241 8888-238 _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Mark Bayern on 7 May, 2001 - 4:56 pm

too lazy?? I try to stay away from USPO. I was working for Applied Data Research in the '60s (early '70s) when they received the first software patent from the USPO. There was so much furor over it that the USPO said they would no longer issue software patents. Guess they forget. ..anyway.. If the patent we're discussing was filed Dec 17, 1987 we are in the same ballpark. I'd have to do more research to see when we started the project and how much documentation still exists. Since 1-2-3 add-ins generate zero dollars at this point, it isn't worth the effort unless it becomes necessary to challenge the patent for some other reason. Mark _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Perry Sink on 8 May, 2001 - 1:29 pm

Hey folks, Obviously the ability to get awarded a patent and the ability to defend it are two different issues. I used to work in the audio industry, and I know that Bose has several patents on their multi-chamber speaker design, such as on the AM-5 subwoofer/satellite system. That same, patented design appears in a 1936 textbook on acoustics by Harry Olson. Nevertheless Bose has sued smaller companies for infringement and prevailed, because 'he who has the gold, makes the rules.' So sure, there are lots of ridiculous things out there that are patented, and big companies can still defend them. All it takes is good lawyers. Perry Perry Sink | Synergetic Micro Systems perrys@synergetic.com | www.synergetic.com +1/ 630.434.1770 | 630.434.1987 fax ________________________________________________ Multiple network chip takes the "Russian Roulette" out of embedded communication: see www.embeddedcomm.com _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Curt Wuollet on 9 May, 2001 - 9:19 am

Hi Perry On a related theme. Have you heard anything from Modicon? My last polite inquiry has gone unanswered. Regards cww _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Harald Albrecht on 9 May, 2001 - 9:23 am

Curt Wuollet <wideopen@ecenet.com> wrote: > On a related theme. > Have you heard anything from Modicon? > My last polite inquiry has gone unanswered. As we're almost on the subject ... anything heard about IAONA? Last time I was told that they are using some proprietary (component) middleware developed by an MIT spin-off. Has anyone more information about this subject? Regards, Harald -- Harald Albrecht Chair of Process Control Engineering RWTH Aachen University of Technology Turmstrasse 46, D-52064 Aachen, Germany Tel.: +49 241 80-7703, Fax: +49 241 8888-238 _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Henri Schultze on 9 May, 2001 - 9:26 am

It is supposed to be NDDS from RTI. Regards Henri _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Perry Sink on 14 May, 2001 - 4:14 pm

Curt, Actually, no, just like you I've received no response, either from Modicon or ODVA. Need to have a face-to-face... Perry >> Hi Perry >> On a related theme. >> Have you heard anything from Modicon? >> My last polite inquiry has gone unanswered. >> Regards >> cww Perry Sink | Synergetic Micro Systems perrys@synergetic.com | www.synergetic.com +1/ 630.434.1770 | 630.434.1987 fax ________________________________________________ Multiple network chip takes the "Russian Roulette" out of embedded communication: see www.embeddedcomm.com _______________________________________________ LinuxPLC mailing list LinuxPLC@linuxplc.org http://linuxplc.org/mailman/listinfo/linuxplc

By Rich Baker on 30 May, 2001 - 9:03 am

Schneider Automation (Modicon) did answer the question of licensing Modbus/TCP.

The license to Modbus/TCP is available at www.modbus.org through a mouse click. We believe that this is a very generous license, and ask the reader to read through the license and let me know if they see any problems.

Rich Baker
Director of Intellectual Property
Schneider Automation

>Re: More b-d patents
>5/9/2001 09:19, by Curt Wuollet
>Hi Perry On a related theme. Have you heard anything from Modicon? My last
polite inquiry has gone unanswered.
>Regards cww


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By Curt Wuollet on 30 May, 2001 - 2:44 pm

Hi Rich

I agree it is a very generous license and I applaud you for an enlightened attitude.
It meets my needs as an individual. Whether it allows the project to standardize on Modbus/TCP without encumbering the users of our GPL'd code is much less clear and is certainly more in the area of your expertise than mine. I think it
would be beneficial for all involved if we could. I also understand that each word of
those things is considered very carefully and it is non-trivial to modify. At this point,
someone has to take a chance, do we do that and assume Modicon will tolerate us or do you do that and assume we're operating in good faith. I am willing to take that chance as an individual, I doubt you would want my 91 Dodge anyways but,
once we publish GPL code to the world it would be very difficult to stuff the genie back in the bottle on demand. That is the issue. I get the feeling you are trying to say yes without producing a lot of legal issues and paperwork which is in itself laudable and I believe the intent is to make the protocol accessable and popular. Straight up, can the LinuxPLC project write GPL code to the Modbus/TCP protocol
assuming that we can have no control over how that code is used ?

Regards

cww

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By Paul Jager on 30 May, 2001 - 3:31 pm

I am sure someone has pasted this up before. If you do not understand the agreement then hire a GPL lawyer (assuming he's "free" of course).

GRANT OF LICENSE. Provided that you have accepted these terms contained herein by clicking the "I ACCEPT" button at the end of this Agreement, this
EULA grants you the following rights:
Installation and Use. You may install and use an unlimited number of copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT without the payment of any royalty fee.
Reproduction and Distribution. You may reproduce and distribute an unlimited number of copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT; provided that each copy shall be a true and complete copy, including all copyright and trademark notices, and shall be accompanied by a copy of this EULA. Copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT may be distributed as a standalone product or included with your own
product.

Paul Jager
automationX

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By Curt Wuollet on 30 May, 2001 - 3:58 pm

Paul Jager wrote:

> I am sure someone has pasted this up before. If you do not understand the
> agreement then hire a GPL lawyer (assuming he's "free" of course).

Hi Paul

Ignoring the snide remark for the moment, I can click, you can click, how does the LPLC project etal, click?. Should we all go and click? And we are not very likely to use the "software" . We are likely to write software from the
documentation. We are actually using the protocol, not their demo software, is that included in the agreement? And, here's the sticking point, if we are not using their software, merely the protocol, does the EULA apply at all? We can not distribute their code with ours as that is a GPL violation so this is
not about their code at all. it's about the protocol and that agreement doesn't seem to address that question. That is: can we use the protocol without using their software or is that the sole means of granting license to the protocol.

The snide remark was uncalled for, I think it is a valid question as that license is incompatible with the GPL. I'm guessing that's we're OK but that's only a guess.

Where am I reading it wrong?

Regards
cww

By Jake Brodsky on 30 May, 2001 - 4:19 pm

>Where am I reading it wrong?

Curt, I have a good friend who is an intellectual property rights lawyer. In particular, she specializes in Internet "law" (such as it may be). She promises to look in to it tomorrow.

Can you wait until then?

Jake Brodsky, mailto:frussle@erols.com
"Nearly fifty percent of all graduates came from
the bottom half of the class."

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By Curt Wuollet on 31 May, 2001 - 9:36 am

I've been waiting for a long, long time. I doubt that another day will matter. Thanks

cww


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By Paul Jager on 31 May, 2001 - 9:36 am

Curt,

Sorry about the remark I should have said "he/she."

No flame intended, and seriously now - why would you zero in on a small legal technicality issue with the Modbus license - which basically says the
software and protocol is free to use? Yes they don't explicitly say Linux and LPLC is free to do whatever but the intent is there. And as users you
are free to interpret what you like from that. The onus would then be on Modicon to act, which I doubt they would do.

There is so much code out in there is all different kinds products using Modbus variants who really cares?

Paul

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By Curt Wuollet on 31 May, 2001 - 9:55 am

I would like to set a precedent of respect and cooperation where sharing protocols with LPLC is a positive act. We could, (and everyone has) just
hack the thing even without the docs. This is easy with Modbus/TCP as they have not kept the information secret. I would like to, if possible
use their protocol with their knowledge and consent. We're so close that we shouldn't need to enter into the gray area with a company that wants
their protocol to be open and widely used. I see Ethernet as the "native" fieldbus for Linux automation. And Modbus/TCP as the most universal and important Ethernet protocol. This makes it mission critical in my view.
I intend to ask the various fieldbus cartels to help us out also. It would lend a great deal of credibility to their use of "Open" if it were possible for an OSS project to use them. If we are serious about supporting as many fieldbusses as possible (and I am deadly serious) we will have to elicit cooperation in the public interest if possible. I see that as a strong negotiating position as long as we continue to act in the public interest. And these are issues we have to resolve as they are new and unique in the automation industry. With our emphasis on providing welcome tools for education, it makes a certain amount of sense to work with us to allow the use and teaching of those protocols.

Regards

cww

PS, you didn't offend me, I get lots worse mail than that. The GPL is the only reason we will ever have any choice but Microsoft and it is even
more crucial in the automation field where the term "Open" is used deceptively and paradoxically.

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