[SciPy-Dev] Procedure for new code submission (pyHHT)

Robert Kern robert.kern@gmail....
Fri Jun 8 16:44:59 CDT 2012

On Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 11:09 PM, Jaidev Deshpande
<deshpande.jaidev@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Universities charge tuition and take in research grant money,
>> and using patented inventions without paying royalties would make a
>> university's program more attractive, both from students paying
>> tuition and granting agencies, than otherwise. That was enough of a
>> commercial nexus for that judge. It also draws on previous cases that
>> limit the experimental use defense to cases where the use is "solely
>> for amusement, to satisfy idle curiosity, or for strictly
>> philosophical inquiry". University research programs are anything but
>> idle curiosity, I'm afraid. The Supreme Court declined to review the
>> case, leaving it the controlling precedent nationwide, and it has not
>> been overruled to my knowledge.
>> Here is the decision, edited down to the juiciest bits:
>>  http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/tfisher/2002Madeyedit.html
> Wow..
>> Sure. You can write open source software that includes patented
>> inventions. Users of that software have the responsibility to
>> independently acquire a license for the patent. The fact that academic
>> users have long ignored that responsibility just shows their ignorance
>> of the law (and I don't entirely blame them since it's complicated);
>> it is not a reflection of the law itself.
> So then, what do you think we should do?

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

If you're in the US, you will have to decide for yourself whether or
not to continue developing the software. It's up to you, and possibly
your institution's legal department.

If you're not in the US, you're probably (*probably*) fine to continue
to develop and publish your software. But please do clearly document
that the algorithms are patented in the US. Ideally, you would include
contact information for the patent owner; Dr Huang might have the
correct contact information. It might help to include a brief warning
like mine above (but in your own words, please) that most "research
uses" people think of are not actually permitted without a patent
license under US law. I don't know if there is a good web page
describing the problem, but the EFF may have one. Maybe there's even a
petition that you can link to. But that's purely up to you.

In any case, it's best to keep the HHT code in its own package.

Robert Kern

More information about the SciPy-Dev mailing list