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Author Topic: Patent Issues?  (Read 1699 times)
jancsika
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June 03, 2011, 07:52:49 PM
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Anyone know if there are any potential patent issues with Bitcoin?  I quickly searched the forum, FAQ, and wiki but couldn't find anything.

Seems like that would be an easy angle for an adversary (or conglomeration of adversaries) to exploit.
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June 03, 2011, 08:01:59 PM
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Oh, you mean guys who happen to have a contract on government-force to dispose of those who happen to threaten their monopoly on a specific form of people's property?

Yeah, they can get in line with every other threatened parasite.
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June 03, 2011, 08:06:34 PM
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You should understan one single point - users  of bitcoins not worried becose of patents.
Why ?
They do not worried by patent schems it self.  Patents may burn in hell now.
Only what cares bitcoin community - How to do it ?  And it will happy to get answer through bounty system.

Patents, by itself, is on great danger now. I am happy with that. Is there anybody willing to place eternity life for human beings there ? I am will happy to place bounty on that  Smiley.

We will  meet in not-so-distant future.
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June 03, 2011, 08:18:18 PM
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It's a bit of a moot point, as evidenced by the replies above. The only vulnerable target would be merchants that run their own node. As the network matures there would be less of those, and more outsourcing the service to an IPN provider, not unlike PayPal works. The IPN providers can setup shop in a jurisdiction that does not recognize the patents.

Bitcoin is built on standard cripto primitives: Hashes, hashcash, Merkle trees, p2p networks. The idea of using hash-cash to achieve Byzantine fault tolerance is to my knowledge an original one. Any patent for Hashcash itself is either close to expiration or has prior art [1]. Ditto for Merkle trees (patent expired in 2002). The only problem is ECC which has patent issues for some implementation techniques. ECDSA as used in Bitcoin (Libeay/SSL) should be free.


[1] C. Dwork and M. Naor, "Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail", Lecture Notes in Computer Science 740 (Proceedings of CRYPTO'92), 1993, pp.
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June 03, 2011, 09:41:00 PM
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With bitcoin being published as open source, it will prevent a whole pile of patents from happening in the first place.  You can not patent (legally that is) anything that is already being done out there though often patents like that get granted. 

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June 03, 2011, 10:25:22 PM
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With bitcoin being published as open source, it will prevent a whole pile of patents from happening in the first place.  You can not patent (legally that is) anything that is already being done out there though often patents like that get granted. 

The idea would be that we are worried about existing patents from before bitcoin. But I doubt they'd be a problem: there's no entity to sue anyway.

Also guys please don't let every thread on this forum degenerate into "government=men with guns forcefully stealing stuff". Even if technically true, it's hardly relevant and it just makes us look like nutcases.
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September 03, 2011, 11:46:29 AM
 #7

And what if part of the Bitcoin system is implemented on some smartcard or similar device ?
I think there are several patents out there describing payment/transaction signing/crypto systems using a smartcard.

Who would need to take a license : the manufacturer, the programmer and/or the issuer of the cards ?
Or can they be ignored ?

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September 03, 2011, 12:35:47 PM
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With bitcoin being published as open source, it will prevent a whole pile of patents from happening in the first place.  You can not patent (legally that is) anything that is already being done out there though often patents like that get granted. 

Just because something is open-source does not mean it is somehow exempt from patent litigation. I am not even close to being a lawyer, but if you read up on what's been going on with Google/Android and patents, you'll have a different view on the matter.

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September 03, 2011, 02:23:19 PM
 #9

...

Among some flaky patents that are pretty much worthless, there is a design patent from the iPhone that Android ripped off learned from the designs of, and that is the major argument of Apple in the court case.

For that to apply to Bitcoin, p2p, encryption, and the vehicle of Bitcoin itself would have to have all been patented before. I'm sure there is plenty of room for patent violations in the public sector in Bitcoin development, but the Bitcoin protocol and client itself-- not likely.


I am not talking about one patent case with Apple vs. Google, I am referring to the larger portfolios of patents that are held by massive corporations such as Apple, Microsoft and Google (to a lesser extent) among many others. There is a lot of coverage in patents for a lot of technology out there held by big companies waiting to make moves when they see a strategic advantage, or when they want to block something. The Google/Android situation is only going to grow and it's because of it's open-source nature that the patent problems are gaining momentum.

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