[vorbis-dev] patents

David Maurus lists at mailbag.de
Sat Dec 16 03:52:02 PST 2000

Gabriel Bouvigne wrote:

> I've got 2 questions regarding patents:
> *to infringe a patent, de we need to infringe the whole patent, or just any
> of the claims?

It is sufficient to infringe on one claim. Note however, that the claims are
organized like a tree. The claims with the higher numbers reference earlier

For example, look at
<http://www.delphion.com/details?&pn=US05579430__&s_all=1#clms>: Claim 2
references claim 1, claim 3 references claim 2, claim 4 references claim 1 and so
on. That means that if you can prove that claim 2 is invalid, all claims
referencing claim 2 would  also be invalid. If the subject of your development
isn't covered by claim 1, the other claims shouldn't be able to hurt you.

> *when 2 patents cover about the same thing, which one do we need to look at?
> The first delivered one, or the first one by application date?

I think you would have to look at both, since both owners could feel that you are
infringing on their patent and sue you. If the patents would actually cover the
same invention, you could attack the second one by arguing that there was prior
art as documented by the first patent. If you want to find prior art for both
patents, you must find a description of the patent's subject that was available to
the public before the first patent was filed.

- David

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