Advocating FDL University-courses

xdrudis at xdrudis at
Thu Jul 18 14:36:43 UTC 2002

> A patent would protect a technique, not a file format. (i.e like 
> LZW 
> compression, not the layout of the GIF file structure). An 
> independent technique for generating the same would not be 
> covered by the patent.

I'm not so sure. Although functional claims shouldn't issue, 
they regularly issue. And therefore the format specification 
(or more precisele any technique to produce such a format) 
may get a patent, of dubious validity 
but sure harm. If you have an "unpatented" format that can only 
be produced through patented processes (since the patent covers
any process to generate it), you have an effectively patented 
format. I'm not sure of the details for GIF, but if the format
specifies LZW compression, you can't have compresed GIF files
(I think the GIF format allows for uncompressed files, but 
another frmat might not). You could use gzip instead, but that'd no
be GIF. 

On functional and non-technical claims, see

> Instead of bothering to have the above arguement, you could have 
> just fired up a webbrowser and spent a few seconds on google to 
> turn up
I haven't found an spec there, I've found:

                The MS Office file formats (Word, Excel, Powerpoint,
Office Binder and Office Drawing) were all made freely available
                from the MS msdn website in 1998. Since then they have
been removed, but MS made cd's available of their website to
                developers that registered to receive them. These cd's
are commonly available. The particular cd that the specifications were
                made available on is the July 1998 edition. CD Number 2
of the three part set. The specs that were made available were the
                office 97 spefications. Not the previous versions. The
specs are quite hard to read, and often incomplete. Some fields are
                wrong, and some information is not fully correct, but
theres nothing better available. 

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