FSFE Newsletter

simo simo.sorce at xsec.it
Tue Jan 8 03:46:50 UTC 2008

On Tue, 2008-01-08 at 00:15 +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 07, 2008 at 07:18:36PM +0000, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > 
> > On Mon, 2008-01-07 at 18:05 +0000, Rui Miguel Silva Seabra wrote:
> > > Even if it's a one-time payment royalty, it's a royalty on software
> > > patents which implies respecting them.
> > > 
> > > If this view from the result is incorrect, please tell me how it is so,
> > > for this comes straight from Kroes's statements and Microsoft's
> > > agreements.
> > 
> > I'm not sure that's correct - if the new foundation had paid money to
> > Microsoft because of patents, surely there ought to be a patent license
> > or similar to cover the developers? An NDA is just that - it's not a
> > patent license, and it doesn't protect you from being sued over patents.
> > 
> > Indeed, the correct title of the agremeent is:
> > 
> > "Microsoft Work Group Server Protocol Program License Agreement (No
> > Patents)"
> > 
> > - http://samba.org/samba/PFIF/PFIF_agreement.pdf
> That's the: "if you don't want to license patents but to develop under
> an NDA" agreement.

You are under NDA in any case if you want access to the docs, but Tridge
did a wonderful job with the contract.

> > The payment is for access to the documentation. Call it trade secrets,
> > or whatever, it doesn't really matter - patents don't really seem to
> > come into it.
> Licensing patents doesn't come into it. It doesn't mean that there are
> no patents involved (actually, the wording seems to sugest there are
> patents involved -- not just those of "third parties").

Read this doc, they are listed in the appendix, both United States and
European patents.

> > Personally, if the documentation is good and correct, I think €10k is a
> > bit of a bargain - I bet it would have cost Microsoft a lot more than
> > that to put together, and I bet a number of companies have paid a lot
> > more than that to gain access to it.
> You get to access, under very controlled conditions, some very hard to
> read documentation which you will not be able to talk about with anyone.

I have not seen the documentation yet, so I can't tell, how can you ?
True the contract say signers can't share the documentation but why
should it be very hard to read? In any case code speaks loud enough IMO.

> Also be sure to read 5.5 (the Orwellian please erase your brain if you
> have photographic memory):
> 	An Authorized Person’s memory will be considered to be unaided if
> 	such Authorized Person has not intentionally memorized the
> 	Confidential Information for the purpose of retaining and
> 	subsequently using or disclosing it.

This is actually a standard NDA clause that can be found in many similar
agreements in the industry. Unless you really memorize it (like you
would do for a poem) you are free from any side effect after three
months after you decide to get out of the contract. There is no
permanent effect on the developers, thanks again to Tridge.


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