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Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by thermal, Aug 16, 2008.
Interesting news: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7561943.stm
Isn't Katzer the same guy who is being sued by the NMRA for trying to patent dcc and charge all of the manufacturers royalties? In that case the NMRA is showing that his patent is based on technology that was in production 2 years or longer before he filed for the patent.
He is very wealthy and used his money to try to cripple JMRI financially in court.
I wouldn't even think of using his products as he could've employed some breaking technology and instead abused open source licenses.
I have subscribed to Open Office.org, and really enjoy using it. If I found a code that I thought I could modify to make money, I'd certainly make sure I had everyone's permission before I'd try to do it. I've had friends that wrote computer code while they were working for someone ealse. Then the person that they were working for claimed it was theirs by right of it being written while the writer was on their payroll. There just doesn't seem to be any limits to what sleezy people will do to try to hurt someone or get some money dishonestly.
Before the company I worked for was sold to an individual and became an independent refrigeration dealership instead of a factory branch, the corporate office sent down a memo demanding that every technician sign a document giving the corporation the patent right to any invention any of us might come up with while employed by the company. We all refused to sign it because we were not hired to be engineers, and there was no mention of any compensation for ideas.
I also remember that it was an employee for Sears that invented the push button release for sockets from ratchets. Sears put it into production without so much as a "thank you." The employee sued Sears and won. Sears had to pay a royalty for every ratchet they sold with his idea. The courts ruled that since he was not employed by Sears as a designer or engineer, any ideas he came up with were his intellectual property and could not be claimed by the company.
I worked with a young man in SoCal who left the parts store, and went to work for PG & E. (Pacific Gas and Electric.) While working as a "meter man," he designed a new type wrench that would enable repairmen to more easily turn off gas valves that were located in underground boxes, (similar to water meter boxes.) The company made him give them the drawings for it so they could have it patented, manufactured, and sell it to other gas companies. He didn't even get so much as a "thank you," either.
His mistake was not suing PG&E. If he had sued, he would have won the suit and forced PG&E to put the patent in his name and pay him royalties. In civil law it is only illegal if someone sues and wins. Corporations regularly do what ever they think they can get away with, and hope the person they cheat won't complain. It is not like criminal law where the police and district attorneys are expected to follow up and press charges. In civil law, violations are only enforced when someone sues.