[Flac-dev] Blocking and compression.

Curt Sampson cjs at cynic.net
Thu Jan 22 16:31:04 PST 2004

On Thu, 22 Jan 2004, Wayde Milas wrote:

> The whole point is, I'm pretty sure that the above patents would never
> stand up. There is a multitude of works both in use today, and in
> written papers/code using arithmetic encoding. Not only that, I dont
> think any prior art search was done from 1976 to 1990 when the patents
> were awarded. There is alot of prior art.

This is pretty typical in the software industry. The U.S. Patent Office
has for a long time been granting patents for which there seem to be
obvious prior art. (At one point, a company practically claimed they'd
patented the hyperlink, and thus everybody who made a web page owed them

The problem is, a good number of these patents are in the hands of
businesses whose business model and sole revenue source is to licence
these patents. That makes them extremely disinclined to back down on
them, and OSS projects (and a lot of commercial projects, for that
matter) don't have the financial resources to fight the legal battle
that would be needed to get the patent overturned.

Curt Sampson  <cjs at cynic.net>   +81 90 7737 2974   http://www.NetBSD.org
    Don't you know, in this new Dark Age, we're all light.  --XTC

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