[linux-elitists] (forw) RE: RSA patent expiration (BayCon 2000 topic)

'Rick Moen' rick@linuxmafia.com
Thu Jul 6 01:24:16 PDT 2000

Oh, this is _rich_.  I love it.

If you ever need a good patent attorney for any reason, you might want
to start with Ms. Stephenson's law firm:  I've been very impressed, in
both encounters.  (I'm going to send her a nice thank-you note, now that 
Deirdre and I are back from Hawaii.)

As to our party in celebration of International Cryptography Day,

    September 2000
 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
                 1  2
  3  4  5  6  7  8  9
 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

The easy choice would be Saturday, September 20, which also just happens
to be Deirdre's and my intended wedding day.  Sound good?

----- Forwarded message from Julie Stephenson <jstephenson@beverlaw.com> -----

From: Julie Stephenson <jstephenson@beverlaw.com>
To: 'Rick Moen' <rick@linuxmafia.com>
Subject: RE: RSA patent expiration (BayCon 2000 topic)
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 11:09:07 -0700
X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2448.0)

Hi Rick -

I researched the question right after we spoke.  Unfortunately, the answer
is that there is no answer.  According to Chisum (a premiere researcher in
the field) the caselaw on the subject is in conflict.  Thus, if a patent has
a date of June 28, 1983, and the term of the patent is 17 years, then the
last day of coverage of the patent has been interpreted to be both June 27,
2000, and June 28, 2000 in different cases.

I looked around a little further, and found no information relating to the
time of expiration of a patent.  Because the caselaw is still in conflict on
the date of expiration, I can't imagine a situation where the *time* on the
date of expiration (much less the time zone of the time on the date of
expiration) would have been litigated without clarifying that whole date of
expiration mess.  So I can give you no direction as to *when* you should
begin partying.

What does this mean for you?  Well, you can either party on September 9,
2000, and be prepared to change the name of your party from "the first day
of no coverage by the RSA patent" to "the last day of oppression by the RSA
patent" while knowing that anyone partying from 11:55 pm to 12:05 am will
have actually partied on the right day (ignoring that whole time zone thing)
OR you can party on September 10, 2000, and be assured that you are partying
on a no-patent coverage day.  However, in the minds of some people, you
would be partying on the day after the day the patent expires.  :)  If it
helps a all, it appears that generic drug manufacturers would begin selling
their drugs on (in the example above) June 29, 2000.  (Note that this
ignores the issue of then manufacturing the drugs prior to the expiration of
the patent, which was one of the bases for litigation in one of the
conflicting cases mentioned above.)

Sorry I couldn't be more clear - that is the pitfall of working in the law
... there is often no right answer, only opinions and arguments.  On the
bright side, you can choose a reasonable time and date of expiration (say,
11:59 pm EST on September 9, 2000) and have some caselaw basis for choosing
that date.  If you think of it, please let me know what you decide.  I'll
have a drink at that time in celebration.  :)

Have fun,


> -----Original Message-----
> From:	Rick Moen [SMTP:rick@linuxmafia.com]
> Sent:	Friday, June 30, 2000 1:38 AM
> To:	jstephenson@beverlaw.com
> Subject:	RSA patent expiration (BayCon 2000 topic)
> Greetings, Ms. Stephenson.
> I spoke briefly with you and you colleague, when we were both in the
> audience for Brad Templeton's panel on the future of IP rights, at
> BayCon 2000.  You kindly offered to research a vexing question, if I
> would send you an e-mail reminder.  (This is that reminder.)
> The RSA cryptographic algorithm is covered by US patent #4,405,829
> was issued 1983-09-20 (and thus is a 17-year patent) to Rivest, Shamir,
> and Adleman.  Everyone says it therefore expires 2000-09-20.
> A bunch of us plan to organise a party and international celebration for
> the time of expiration -- but the question is, when?  5 PM Washington DC
> time on the 20th?  8 AM Washington DC time on the 21st?
> We are hoping to find out what actual day and time is the earliest time
> the algorithm can be used in the USA without royalties or infringement.
> If you have time to find out, that would be much appreciated.  If not,
> thanks for considering it, and it's been a pleasure talking with you, 
> in any event.
> -- 
> Cheers,                                      Right to keep and bear
> Rick Moen                                  Haiku shall not be abridged
> rick (at) linuxmafia.com                      Or denied.  So there.

----- End forwarded message -----

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