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PICList Thread
'[PIC] Fake PICs'
2004\12\07@040146 by Mohit Mahajan

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face
I was at a technical seminar organised by Microchip India last Friday.
The country manager warned us about duplicate/fake PICs become
increasingly available in the market here. They work as advertised for
some time and then conk out. These are being made in China.

There was a thread earlier as well about a PIC which was available only
in China and was Microchip's answer to these fakes.

So in case you get a "holiday offer" at some low price, be a bit wary.
:-)

As an aside, is it easy enough to make a (duplicate) microcontroller
that small-time chip makers can do it ? (I cannot imagine decent sized
factories making fake stuff, although I really don't know...)

Regards,
Mohit.

____________________________________________

2004\12\07@050628 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Dec 7, 2004, at 12:54 AM, Mohit Mahajan wrote:

> The country manager warned us about duplicate/fake PICs become
> increasingly available in the market here. They work as advertised for
> some time and then conk out. These are being made in China.
>
Gee, I wonder how the chinese fabs make chips with a built-in self
destruct.  That'd be really handy for some projects...


> As an aside, is it easy enough to make a (duplicate) microcontroller
> that small-time chip makers can do it ?

Designing a copy microcontroller is a piece of cake.  You can find open
source FPGA code to make a pic-like controller on the net, for instance.
But actually fabbing ANY chip (in quantity) is a pretty big proposition.
Some countries lack the "western" concepts of intellectual property
rights,
and this sort of thing results.  I'm not sure whether the idea of
making a
copy chip for national use, and the idea of actually counterfeiting them
and selling them internationally come from the same people, though.  
Seems
like two different levels of morality bending...

BillW

____________________________________________

2004\12\07@055517 by Mike Harrison

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On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 14:24:22 +0530, you wrote:

>I was at a technical seminar organised by Microchip India last Friday.
>The country manager warned us about duplicate/fake PICs become
>increasingly available in the market here. They work as advertised for
>some time and then conk out.

....well they would say that wouldn't they..?
Typical FUD tactics from a manufacturer under threat from cheaper competition.


____________________________________________

2004\12\07@060632 by Russell McMahon

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> They work as advertised for some time and then conk out.

How is this different from the Microchip parts?


       RM

:-)



____________________________________________

2004\12\07@061922 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu]
>On Behalf Of Russell McMahon
>Sent: 07 December 2004 10:43
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [PIC] Fake PICs
>
>
>> They work as advertised for some time and then conk out.
>
>How is this different from the Microchip parts?
>
>
>        RM
>
>:-)

Indeed, perfect copies in every way!

Mike

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____________________________________________

2004\12\07@065805 by Jinx

face picon face

> > They work as advertised for some time and then conk out.
>
> How is this different from the Microchip parts?

Are you saying you're aware of MC parts that are so prone to
failure they shouldn't be used ? Would love to know so I can
avoid them

____________________________________________

2004\12\07@074402 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
William ChopsWestfield wrote:

>> The country manager warned us about duplicate/fake PICs become
>> increasingly available in the market here.

> Some countries lack the "western" concepts of intellectual property
> rights, and this sort of thing results.  I'm not sure whether the idea
> of  making a copy chip for national use, and the idea of actually
> counterfeiting them and selling them internationally come from the same
> people, though.  
> Seems like two different levels of morality bending...

Depending on the point of view, the notion of IP rights could be considered
"morality bending"... There's not really much morality involved either way,
just economy.

Gerhard
____________________________________________

2004\12\07@081712 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>> > They work as advertised for some time and then conk out.
>>
>> How is this different from the Microchip parts?
>
>Are you saying you're aware of MC parts that are so prone to
>failure they shouldn't be used ? Would love to know so I can
>avoid them

One could say that some of the new devices introduced fall into this
category - 18F devices that don't work at 40MHz when original data sheet
specified such, 10F devices where the config word is moving around, and
similar problems that seem to have popped up from time to time :))

____________________________________________

2004\12\07@085004 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 10:43 AM 12/7/2004 -0200, you wrote:
>William ChopsWestfield wrote:
>
> >> The country manager warned us about duplicate/fake PICs become
> >> increasingly available in the market here.
>
> > Some countries lack the "western" concepts of intellectual property
> > rights, and this sort of thing results.  I'm not sure whether the idea
> > of  making a copy chip for national use, and the idea of actually
> > counterfeiting them and selling them internationally come from the same
> > people, though.
> > Seems like two different levels of morality bending...
>
>Depending on the point of view, the notion of IP rights could be considered
>"morality bending"... There's not really much morality involved either way,
>just economy.
>
>Gerhard

Yes. There's a distinction between a cloned part and a counterfeit part
with a facsimile of the original maker's markings and logo on it,
however.

ERSO in Taiwan (owned by the Taiwan government) made copies of Intel
microcontrollers (marked with ERSO's logo) for years, however they were
not allowed to export them directly. When the technology had been mastered,
and ERSO split up into five privatized entities, they no longer did that
sort of thing. But it helped them get going at that point in their
development.

IP "rights" are an economic contract that is supported when it makes
economic sense to do so.

For example, the US basically ignored British patents and copyrights after
independence, and it wasn't for another 60 or 70 years that international
IP rights were respected (after the US gained valuable IP to exploit!).

A US pirate copy of "A Christmas Carol" sold for 6 cents in 1842 compared
to $2.50 in England, which didn't please Mr. Dickens, who got nothing
out of the deal.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
speffspamKILLspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




____________________________________________

2004\12\07@085121 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 01:17 PM 12/7/2004 +0000, you wrote:
> >> > They work as advertised for some time and then conk out.
> >>
> >> How is this different from the Microchip parts?
> >
> >Are you saying you're aware of MC parts that are so prone to
> >failure they shouldn't be used ? Would love to know so I can
> >avoid them
>
>One could say that some of the new devices introduced fall into this
>category - 18F devices that don't work at 40MHz when original data sheet
>specified such, 10F devices where the config word is moving around, and
>similar problems that seem to have popped up from time to time :))

dsPICs that, upon closer examination, turn out to be composed entirely
of vapo[u]r which takes years to condense. ;-)

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
.....speffKILLspamspam.....interlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




____________________________________________

2004\12\07@091210 by Dave Lag

picon face
Would these be flash chips or OTP?
Copies labeled to deceive or just duplicating pinouts or functionality?
'could be fun to play with...
Is there a group-buy? ;)
D

William Chops Westfield wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> ______________________________________________

2004\12\07@103440 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu [piclist-bouncesspamspam_OUTmit.edu]
>On Behalf Of Jinx
>Sent: 07 December 2004 11:57
>To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
>Subject: Re: [PIC] Fake PICs
>
>
>
>> > They work as advertised for some time and then conk out.
>>
>> How is this different from the Microchip parts?
>
>Are you saying you're aware of MC parts that are so prone to
>failure they shouldn't be used ? Would love to know so I can avoid them

If you can, avoid using any new parts until a few sillicon revisions
have been released.  The amount of bugs released in the initial sillicon
of the newer parts is very disspointing.

Mike

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____________________________________________

2004\12\07@114540 by Dal Wheeler

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face
I'm not sure where you were going with that statement on the dspic.  Care to
explain?

-----Original Message-----
From: Spehro Pefhany
At 01:17 PM 12/7/2004 +0000, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

dsPICs that, upon closer examination, turn out to be composed entirely
of vapo[u]r which takes years to condense. ;-)

---
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
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____________________________________________

2004\12\07@121815 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 09:45 AM 12/7/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>I'm not sure where you were going with that statement on the dspic.  Care to
>explain?

They were a couple years late delivering the product.. so it was initially
"vaporware" rather than hardware.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
@spam@speffKILLspamspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




____________________________________________

2004\12\07@145235 by Jinx

face picon face
> >> > They work as advertised for some time and then conk out.
> >>
> >> How is this different from the Microchip parts?
> >
> > Are you saying you're aware of MC parts that are so prone to
> > failure they shouldn't be used ? Would love to know so I can
> > avoid them
>
> If you can, avoid using any new parts until a few sillicon revisions
> have been released

I do and always have, and pretty much beta versions of anything

A buggy part that's solidly built is quite different from a bugless
part that's somehow/allegedly weakly built

The suggestion that genuine Microchip parts are inherently unreliable
is just irresponsible, particularly on a list with probably quite a few
members that do not have the same wealth of experience as others
and who may be influenced by such a suggestion

____________________________________________

2004\12\07@231741 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
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Thanks Spehro for sharing that history 200 years ago. :) I think
Asia needs another 60 years to catch up. :)

I look into some Chinese websites after reading the thread about CF745.
The Fake PICs are not fake PICs per se. I think we should call them
clone parts. According to some Chinese website, the most popular pic
clones are from MDT. There are other compatible PICs from Elan (EMC),
Holtek and Winbond (all 4 are from Taiwan and the product are
quite popular in the consumer sector of the Great China region).

Generally they say that the MDT chips work fine but do have some
problems relating to EMC or current consumption issues. They are
mostly Mask parts so it is only suitable for mass production. They
do have OTP parts as well.

Anyway we will not use them here since the direction is to go for flash
parts. But they seem to gain popularity in China. That is also the
reason that Microchip comes out parts like CF745 (untested parts).

Regards,
Xiaofan


{Quote hidden}

____________________________________________

2004\12\08@002048 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
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Just for your info.

Micon MDT MCU website:
http://www.mdtic.com.tw/English/prodview.htm

Most of the product are said to be compatible with PIC16C5x 12-bit parts.
But some of them are said to be compatible with PIC16C711 and 16C72 (less
the I2C and TMR2 postscaler).

Xiaofan
____________________________________________

2004\12\08@042627 by steve

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> The Fake PICs are not fake PICs per se. I think we should call
> them clone parts. According to some Chinese website, the most popular
> pic clones are from MDT.

The MDT parts are pin compatible and have the same functionality, but
have their own instruction set and are not source or binary compatible
with any PIC. MDT do provide a utility function in their programmer that
will allow you to convert a PIC binary into the MDT format.

So why are the MDT parts called clones, fakes and pirates while the
binary compatible, directly interchangeable Scenix parts were an
example of American ingenuity ?

Steve.

____________________________________________

2004\12\08@054630 by Peter L. Peres

picon face


On Tue, 7 Dec 2004, Mike Harrison wrote:

> On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 14:24:22 +0530, you wrote:
>
>> I was at a technical seminar organised by Microchip India last Friday.
>> The country manager warned us about duplicate/fake PICs become
>> increasingly available in the market here. They work as advertised for
>> some time and then conk out.
>
> ....well they would say that wouldn't they..?
> Typical FUD tactics from a manufacturer under threat from cheaper competition.

It is sort of bad when you get overrun by your own products ... made by
someone else ?!

Peter
____________________________________________

2004\12\08@101540 by Mike Hord

picon face
> So why are the MDT parts called clones, fakes and pirates while the
> binary compatible, directly interchangeable Scenix parts were an
> example of American ingenuity ?
>
> Steve.

Several reasons:

1.  The Scenix parts are NOT intended to replace PICs.  I suspect they
used the PIC instruction set as a matter of convenience, a "feature" to
attract those of us accustomed to using it.  Think about it: a minor
change in their core, different mnemonics and I wouldn't be typing this.

I also don't believe that they are pin compatible, but that I could easily
be wrong about.

2.  A clone and a fake/counterfeit/pirate are different things.  A clone
is either licensed or has sufficient differences to be considered a
different product, even if it is functionally identical.  A fake/counterfeit/
pirate is marked and marketed as the product it is taking the place of.
If you order a PIC16F876, and get anything which is labelled as such
but isn't, that part is a counterfeit (or labelling error).

Bottom line: clones good, counterfeits bad.  Think about it:  if you
were an American company who ordered 2 million units from a
Chinese manufacturer, who specced PICs but then used inferior
quality counterfeits, and you had a terrible failure rate in one year,
would you use a PIC in your next product the next year?  No, you
wouldn't.  But you might use the same manufacturer, because
AFAYK, they got bad product from Microchip.

Mike H.
____________________________________________

2004\12\08@102237 by Dave VanHorn

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>
>Bottom line: clones good, counterfeits bad.  Think about it:  if you
>were an American company who ordered 2 million units from a
>Chinese manufacturer, who specced PICs but then used inferior
>quality counterfeits, and you had a terrible failure rate in one year,
>would you use a PIC in your next product the next year?  No, you
>wouldn't.  But you might use the same manufacturer, because
>AFAYK, they got bad product from Microchip.

A lot of counterfeit batteries coming from China too.
Locally, at a swap meet, I can buy "Dunacell", "DuraKing", and "DuraDuke"
batteries, in the black and gold packaging with expiration date.  Of course
in China, I could also buy "Duracells" that were never made by Duracell,
but most of that gets stopped in customs I guess..  Same problem though,
unsuspecting user gets the counterfeit, and blames the real company for the
results.  Which is why we have trademark law.


____________________________________________

2004\12\08@110350 by Morgan Olsson

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Chen Xiao Fan 05:13 2004-12-08:
>Thanks Spehro for sharing that history 200 years ago. :) I think
>Asia needs another 60 years to catch up. :)

Seem to be the same all over the world, also much from USA.
Partly becayse the lame US patent Office that do not do their job, partly because large companies and bad laws make fighting using money instead of development works there, partly because US government support the whole shit..
I designed a security system, whoose principle i discovered already more than 20 yers ago, yet i found three US patens identical to that, made around 1999!   They will fall if in cuort.  Poor enginer paying US patent office, then get lies back from them.

TakeThisOuTsteveEraseMEspamspam_OUTtla.co.nz 10:26 2004-12-08:
>So why are the MDT parts called clones, fakes and pirates while the
>binary compatible, directly interchangeable Scenix parts were an
>example of American ingenuity ?

Because the one speaking was USamerican.

/Morgan
--
Morgan Olsson, Kivik, Sweden

____________________________________________

2004\12\08@114601 by Dave VanHorn

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>
>Seem to be the same all over the world, also much from USA.
>Partly becayse the lame US patent Office that do not do their job, partly
>because large companies and bad laws make fighting using money instead of
>development works there, partly because US government support the whole shit..
>I designed a security system, whoose principle i discovered already more
>than 20 yers ago, yet i found three US patens identical to that, made
>around 1999!   They will fall if in cuort.  Poor enginer paying US patent
>office, then get lies back from them.

I don't know that I agree with all of this, but I certainly think that the
patent office in the US is grossly incompetent.  They awarded a patent on
an antenna that purports to transmit signals faster than light.. They also
awarded a patent to a barcode company for essentially shining a laser
through a hole, and another for using a trigger switch to control a
laser... How much more stunningly obvious can you get?

____________________________________________

2004\12\08@115253 by Spehro Pefhany

picon face
At 05:04 PM 12/8/2004 +0100, you wrote:
>  Poor enginer paying US patent office, then get lies back from them.

Could be wrong, but I don't think it's the job (any more?) of the USPTO to
research prior art.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
RemoveMEspeffspamTakeThisOuTinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com




____________________________________________

2004\12\08@125251 by D. Jay Newman

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face
> I designed a security system, whoose principle i discovered already more than 20 yers ago, yet i found three US patens identical to that, made around 1999!   They will fall if in cuort.  Poor enginer paying US patent office, then get lies back from them.

Yes, but did you *publish* the specs of the security system or keep it a
secret? Or did you find it in a previous publication?

The US patent system is designed not to protect inventor's rights, but to
put the invention into the public domain.

And the US patent system is based on the British model.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
jayEraseMEspam.....sprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\12\08@130831 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
>> So why are the MDT parts called clones, fakes and pirates

I hadn't noticed anyone doing that.  By definition, the parts that I'm
complaining about don't have an easily identifiable manufacturer.  They
say "microchip" on them (but don't come from microchip.)


>> while the binary compatible, directly interchangeable Scenix parts
>>  were an example of American ingenuity ?
>>
The single 20ns cycle instruction timing is an example of american
ingenuity.
Pin compatibility with PIC is nothing to get upset about.  Binary
compatibility
is vaguely weird, IMO.  Did Microchip and Scenix have an "agreement" of
some
kind?  I don't recall hearing nearly the amount of microchip whining
about the
scenix parts that I would have expected if the instruction set was
copied without
permission (compared to the epic battles with Atmel, for instance...)

BillW
____________________________________________

2004\12\08@204854 by Chen Xiao Fan

face
flavicon
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I agree with Steve that it is not appropriate to call MDT parts
fakes and pirates. But the MCU is actively promoted as being
compatible with PICs. I remember that Holtek being sued by
Microchip some years ago and I wonder if MDT will be sued should
they being too successful even only in the great China region
since that is a huge market.

As for Scenix parts (now Ubicom) I think they are now being offered
more through one distributor. They are not so unique in the market
as well since very fast and better 8-bit MCUs are emerging like
those from Silabs. So they are no longer an American ingenuity. :)

Xiaofan

{Quote hidden}

____________________________________________

2004\12\09@164935 by Peter L. Peres

picon face


On Wed, 8 Dec 2004, D. Jay Newman wrote:

>> I designed a security system, whoose principle i discovered already more than 20 yers ago, yet i found three US patens identical to that, made around 1999!   They will fall if in cuort.  Poor enginer paying US patent office, then get lies back from them.
>
> Yes, but did you *publish* the specs of the security system or keep it a
> secret? Or did you find it in a previous publication?
>
> The US patent system is designed not to protect inventor's rights, but to
> put the invention into the public domain.
>
> And the US patent system is based on the British model.

And the British patent model evolved when Britain was a colonial power
(The colonial power), so it is based on the NSNIH [*] principle.

Peter

[*] NSNIH = No Such Things as Not Invented Here - i.e. all the other guys
are gooks
____________________________________________

2004\12\09@171632 by Andrew Warren

flavicon
face
Chops <RemoveMEpiclistEraseMEspamEraseMEmit.edu> wrote:

> Did Microchip and Scenix have an "agreement" of some kind?  I don't
> recall hearing nearly the amount of microchip whining about the
> scenix parts that I would have expected if the instruction set was
> copied without permission (compared to the epic battles with Atmel,
> for instance...)

Bill:

In late 1997, Microchip sued Scenix and Parallax for patent
infringement.  A month later, they added "misappropriation of trade
secrets" and "breach of contract" to the suit.  In 1998, they sued
Scenix in Germany for infringement on Microchip's microcode
copyrights.

In late 2000, Microchip and Scenix settled their litigation.  Details
weren't made public, but a cash payment from Scenix to Microchip was
involved.

-Andy

=== Andrew Warren -- RemoveMEaiwspam_OUTspamKILLspamcypress.com
=== Principal Design Engineer
=== Cypress Semiconductor Corporation
===
=== Opinions expressed above do not
=== necessarily represent those of
=== Cypress Semiconductor Corporation

____________________________________________

2004\12\11@081356 by Morgan Olsson

flavicon
face
Peter L. Peres 22:49 2004-12-09:
>>>I designed a security system, whoose principle i discovered already more than 20 yers ago, yet i found three US patens identical to that, made around 1999!   They will fall if in cuort.  Poor enginer paying US patent office, then get lies back from them.
>>
>>Yes, but did you *publish* the specs of the security system or keep it a
>>secret? Or did you find it in a previous publication?

OOPS, Sorry i prased my sentence wrong.  I meant I descovered that the principle i came up to, was already invented and patented very long ago - so long ago it is now kommon knowledge - prior art.

>>The US patent system is designed not to protect inventor's rights, but to
>>put the invention into the public domain.

So are all patent system i know:  Make public, and offer the first documented inventor a chance to earn money from it.  However US patent office failed three times to check if a the claimed invention was prior art though there were several US, World and other, the eldest patent was in two languages, and pretty easy to find, my patent guy even found two almost identical US pats, but ihave them only on paper and not here.  Search finds for eample:

The eldest, covering basic idea in our work:
IT1129118, dated 800727, eqvivalent FR2487286, dated 810727
http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer?PN=FR2487286&CY=se&LG=se&DB=EPD

A couple of the ones of about seven my patent guy found too similar:

WO9739924 "Radio controlled engine kill switch"
http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer?PN=WO9739924&CY=se&LG=se&DB=EPD

WO0000383 "SAFETY DEVICE FOR STOPPING BOATS IF THE DRIVER FALLS OVERBOARD"
http://l2.espacenet.com/espacenet/viewer?PN=WO0000383&CY=se&LG=se&DB=EPD

There where other but the links are stored in a paper map somewhere at work...

Bottom line, is this is very well known art, and we cannot be sued as long as we are covered by IT1129118 as prior art.  = no patent expenses for us.  For a small company that cannot affort patent that is even better.  Just strange we found no product on the market, except a variant for a sail boat, and a very simple keyfob motor stopper.  Uor prototype have been perfectly working aboard a fishing ship for two years now, and contian much more supporting functions than in the patents, BTW.

/Morgan
--
Morgan Olsson, Kivik, Sweden

____________________________________________

2004\12\11@123611 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> Peter L. Peres 22:49 2004-12-09:

> OOPS, Sorry i prased my sentence wrong.  I meant I descovered that the principle i came up to, was already invented and patented very long ago - so long ago it is now kommon knowledge - prior art.

Yes, but unfortunately the patent office seems to be highly understaffed
and patents only get a more complete check if they are challenged.

> However US patent office failed three times to check if a the claimed invention was prior art though there were several US, World and other, the eldest patent was in two languages, and pretty easy to find, my patent guy even found two almost identical US pats, but ihave them only on paper and not here.  Search finds for eample:

Again, the office is understaffed. They don't have experts in every field
on call which makes their searches more difficult.

Unfortunately this makes the patent system extremely difficult to use
unless you are wealthy.

If a large company (which has lots of lawyers) enfringes, the cost of suing
them can drive a small inventor into bankruptcy.

If the large company sues the small inventor, the cost of defending can
drive him into bankruptcy.

I don't see any way around this except for removing patents altogether.
As it exists now, I don't see any benefit to society to have patents; the
current system favors the large corporations and seems to stifle invention
rather than encourage it.

> Bottom line, is this is very well known art, and we cannot be sued as long as we are covered by IT1129118 as prior art.  = no patent expenses for us.  For a small company that cannot affort patent that is even better.  Just strange we found no product on the market, except a variant for a sail boat, and a very simple keyfob motor stopper.  Uor prototype have been perfectly working aboard a fishing ship for two years now, and contian much more supporting functions than in the patents, BTW.

The problem, at least in the US, is that even with this prior art, you could
be dragged into court. Since you have additional functions any of them could
be patented. This is one of the reasons I don't like patents.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
RemoveMEjayTakeThisOuTspamspamsprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\12\11@150109 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I don't see any way around this except for removing patents
> altogether.

IMHO the one who files the patent should pay for the prior art research.
If this is costly so be it: it will at least discourage filing trivial
patents.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\12\11@155255 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> > I don't see any way around this except for removing patents
> > altogether.
>
> IMHO the one who files the patent should pay for the prior art research.
> If this is costly so be it: it will at least discourage filing trivial
> patents.

In the US, theoretically the filer must do a patent search. In practice
this doesn't seem to be the case.

Also sometimes prior art is extremely difficult to locate until after
the patent is filed.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
EraseMEjayspamspamspamBeGonesprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\12\11@160552 by Robert Rolf

picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>>I don't see any way around this except for removing patents
>>altogether.
>
>
> IMHO the one who files the patent should pay for the prior art research.
> If this is costly so be it: it will at least discourage filing trivial
> patents.

And yet Gordon Gould, via Patlex corp, was able to file a patent
for the laser in the 1980's because his notarized laboratory notebook
from 1957 showed that he had 'invented' all the applications
for 'coherent' light, which didn't exist until Bell Labs
made a working laser in 1963? Patlex made millions enforcing
it's rights to the 'laser' and all it's applications.

http://www.virtualschool.edu/mon/ElectronicFrontier/LaserPatentWars

"Gordon Gould, then a 37-year-old graduate student
working with Polykarp Kusch, also became intrigued by the idea. While Schawlow
and Townes analyzed the possibilities carefully with the intent of publishing
the results in a scholarly journal, Gould poured his ideas into a notebook and
had it notarized so he could apply for a patent."

So why isn't Arthur C. Clarke rich from the thousands of
infringements of the geosynchronous sallite 'invention'.

The patent system is thoroughly broken when only the rich
can afford to get a patent, and more importantly, enforce
their rights to it.

Robert
unrewarded "work for hire".

____________________________________________

2004\12\11@162414 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> So why isn't Arthur C. Clarke rich from the thousands of
> infringements of the geosynchronous sallite 'invention'.

Because he didn't apply for the patent.

> The patent system is thoroughly broken when only the rich
> can afford to get a patent, and more importantly, enforce
> their rights to it.

Agreed.

This is why I would like to see it abolished, especially for programs
and algorithms.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
RemoveMEjayKILLspamspamsprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\12\11@165213 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> The patent system is thoroughly broken when only the rich
can afford to get a patent

I would not object to that, if it would free us from the curse of
trivial patents.

> and more importantly, enforce their rights to it.

Once you have a patent and a good case you will be able to find support,
for instance from the main competitor of the infringer. IMHO the real
problem is that lots of trivial patents can be got easily (cheaply), so
small manufacturers can easily be 'caught' and bleeded to death in a
court battle.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\12\11@171927 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
> IMHO the one who files the patent should pay for the prior art
> research.

This is already the case.  An inventor is required to disclose any prior art
he is aware of.  In addition, the filing fee is significantly more than the
cost of updating a few records.  In theory it pays for the examiner's time,
which includes doing a prior art search.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\12\11@172930 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face
On Dec 11, 2004, at 5:13 AM, Morgan Olsson wrote:

>  is this is very well known art, and we cannot be sued as long as
> we are covered by IT1129118 as prior art.

You seem to have a misunderstanding of US law.  You can be sued at any
time,
regardless of the merits of the case.  You have data on your side that
gives
you some confidence that you will WIN the suit, perhaps after expending
a lot
of time and $$$ in non-productive directions...

BillW
____________________________________________

2004\12\11@182252 by olin_piclist

face picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:
>> The patent system is thoroughly broken when only the rich
> can afford to get a patent
>
> I would not object to that, if it would free us from the curse of
> trivial patents.

I think that's a really bad idea since it would make patents inaccessible to
the little guy, inviting even more abuses from the big guys.  Even if you do
most of the work yourself, a US patent will still cost you about $5,000.
This is mostly legal fees, but also includes the filing fees and directly
related costs.

$5000 is not much for a large corporation if they think they can prevent
their competitors from using some advantages technique.  But $5000 is a lot
of money for a little guy, especially since any payback is a few years away
at best and there is no guarantee the patent will ever be granted or that
anyone will care once it is.

I think the biggest problem with the patent system has too loose an
interpretation of what is novel.  It seems that "first to implement" an idea
is getting confused with "first to think of" an idea.  The second is a
genuine invention, and should be supported by doing the first.  However, the
first by itself shouldn't be an invention in my opinion.  There are many
many examples of such things out there, but I can cite two that I was
personally envolved with to some extent.

T.Y. Chen of Lexidata patented hardware Z buffering in a display controller
around 1982.  At the time Z buffering and display controllers were both well
known.  The only reason there weren't commercial hardware Z buffer products
out there is because it required a crapload of memory, and would have been
too expensive.  When memory size and price came down to where this was
feasible, Lexidata happened to be the first to produce a display controller
with a hardware Z buffer.  I consider this good engineering, perhaps even
clever and timely, but not novel.  If memory prices had dropped a factor of
2 overnight, you would have seen a bunch of hardware Z buffer products the
next morning.  Many people (including myself) were aware of the possibility.
What made it happen was falling memory prices, not a new idea.

I was working for Raster Technologies at the time.  We came out with a Z
buffer unit a little later, partly because we felt 16 bits of Z per pixel
was required for a useable Z buffer, and waited until that was affordable.
Lexidata's original product only had 12 bit of Z per pixel, are therefore
suffered from various artifacts that we felt would be unacceptable.
Lexidata sued Raster for patent infringement.  The case was eventually
settled when Raster found prior art.  Not only did someone at the GE
research labs in Schenectady NY build a hardware Z buffer a few years
earlier, but they found the building log entry where T.Y. had visited this
researcher well before the patent filing date.

The second case is when I was one of the architects for Apollo's high end
graphics subsystem for the DN10000VS.  Apollo was behind the industry with
the graphics features of its existing products.  We were determined to
leapfrog the competition and take a leadership role in graphics, and so
tried to throw in every feature known to man.  This led to a display
controller that included many advanced features for its time, like alpha
buffering, quadratic interpolation, optional 32 bit Z buffering, attribute
planes, and texture mapping.  Apollo wanted intellectual property it could
use as a defense in case it ever got sued, so we proceeded to patent several
things, including texture mapping in a display controller (if you don't
believe it, look up US patent 5,097,427).  I still feel this was like
Lexidata patenting harware Z buffering.  Texture mapping was well
understood, and the method we used was pretty much right out of the
mip-mapping SIGGRAPH paper.  Yes, we had to do some real engineering to
realize this in hardware, but I'll be the first to admit there weren't any
novel *ideas* envolved.  While I feel we really did invent quadratic
interpolation (it was our original idea, we then worked out all the
mathematical details, then created a hardware implementation), I don't feel
the same way about hardware texture mapping.

In my opinion, both T.Y.'s hardware Z buffering patent and my own hardware
texture mapping patent should not have been allowed on the grounds that both
were a logical and obvious progression from the state of the art, even
though at some point each was a unique implementation.

As a footnote, Hewlett Packard bought Apollo Computer and has owned the
intellectual property rights to hardware texture mapping since 1989(?).  As
far as I know, HP has never attempted to enforce its rights, even though
just about every graphics chip made in the last decade contained hardware
texture mapping.  ATI even made chips in the mid 1990s using quadratic
interpolation for perspective correction.  Eventually silicon technology
advanced to where this technique outlived its usefulness and everybody that
I know of now does a divide per pixel.


*****************************************************************
Embed Inc, embedded system specialists in Littleton Massachusetts
(978) 742-9014, http://www.embedinc.com
____________________________________________

2004\12\11@185329 by William Chops Westfield

face picon face

I dunno.  We're talking about cloning a processor architecture, here.  
Seems
to me that a good part of the problem is that this sort of thing really
ought
to be protected against, and yet I don't think any of the current
intellectual
property protection provisions really provide for it.  I mean, most of
us
probably believe there is nothing really "novel" about most
architectures;
given a data sheet describing the instruction set, a reasonably
talented group
of engineers can easily produce a close clone.  A lot of the mess in
the  patent
system is people and companies trying to protect against that sort of
thing using
tools (patent, copyright) that really don't apply.

BillW
____________________________________________

2004\12\12@001729 by Gary Hahnert

flavicon
face
I used to work in the integrated circuit business.  We came out with a chip
that utilized some technology also used in a chip we were "second sourcing".
The technology was prior art and clearly explained in another company's
product data books from years earlier.  Some of the people at the company
whose chip we were second sourcing had even worked at that other company.
So they were well aware of the prior art but did not disclose it.  The
patent office granted them a patent on this technology despite the prior
art.  They then came after us for royalties for infringement of their
patent.  (By the way, we duplicated the functionality and pinout of their
chip but the only part of our circuit that was similar to theirs was this
"prior art" charge pump circuitry.)  I left the company while litigation was
pending but my understanding is that rather than suffer the pain and expense
of going to court my previous employer caved in and agreed to pay them a
royalty.  Many of the communications circuits in use nowadays use this chip
or one of the now many second sources.  Of course I haven't heard of any
litigation with these other players - but they are all huge companies who
can afford the legal battles.

Just one example of how messed up our patent system can be at times.

Regards,
Gary Hahnert

{Original Message removed}

2004\12\12@043500 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> > IMHO the one who files the patent should pay for the prior art
> > research.
>
> This is already the case.  An inventor is required to
> disclose any prior art he is aware of.

That does not (necessarily) have much relation with the total body of
existing art :(

>  In addition, the filing fee is significantly
> more than the
> cost of updating a few records.  In theory it pays for the
> examiner's time,
> which includes doing a prior art search.

So what I would want is put this theory back to practice. This would
raise the cost of a patent significantly, maybe differentiated for
various subjets. I hope it would raise the cost of a software patent sky
high. The examiner would need to go trough at least all GPL software,
payed by the guy who wants the patent :)

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\12\12@075946 by Peter L. Peres

picon face


On Sat, 11 Dec 2004, Robert Rolf wrote:

{Quote hidden}

And none of them remembered Dennis Gabor. Nor did the patent office
apparently.

Peter

____________________________________________

2004\12\12@091346 by Gerhard Fiedler

picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>>> IMHO the one who files the patent should pay for the prior art
>>> research.

> So what I would want is put this theory back to practice. This would
> raise the cost of a patent significantly, maybe differentiated for
> various subjets. I hope it would raise the cost of a software patent sky
> high. The examiner would need to go trough at least all GPL software,
> payed by the guy who wants the patent :)

In the end, this would probably mean that only big companies could file
patents. Which also would mean that many of these patents would be filed
about inventions done by others -- others who are too small to file their
own patent, and too small to challenge the resulting patent filed by the
big guy in court. Which IMO would not only render the basic idea of patents
completely useless, but would turn it upside down.

I'd rather go with Jay's suggestion and get rid of patents altogether.

Gerhard
____________________________________________

2004\12\12@101619 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> In the end, this would probably mean that only big companies
> could file
> patents. Which also would mean that many of these patents
> would be filed
> about inventions done by others -- others who are too small
> to file their
> own patent, and too small to challenge the resulting patent
> filed by the
> big guy in court. Which IMO would not only render the basic
> idea of patents
> completely useless, but would turn it upside down.

It would to some extent. But it would free us of trivial and non-new
patents. And we could make software patents as costly as we want by
increasing the volume of freely available software :)

I would not like to abolish patents altogether. Note that without
patents for instance no new medicine would be invented. No AIDs medicine
would exist today.

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\12\12@122931 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> I would not like to abolish patents altogether. Note that without
> patents for instance no new medicine would be invented. No AIDs medicine
> would exist today.

I know that the drug companies claim that, but I'm not sure that it's true.

And patents have one major problem with medicine: once the patent is expired,
there is no reason for the company to do research into alternate uses of
the drug.
--
D. Jay Newman           !         Rock is Dead!
jaySTOPspamspamspam_OUTsprucegrove.com     ! Long live paper and scissors!
http://enerd.ws/robots/ !
____________________________________________

2004\12\12@142453 by Wouter van Ooijen

face picon face
> I know that the drug companies claim that, but I'm not sure
> that it's true.

Anyone can doubt anything, but do you have a reason? Developing, testing
and getting approvement is expensive, so expensive that a big
multinational company will keep its fingers crossed that it hits a new
medicine every 5 or 10 years. Without that the they might be out of
business.

> And patents have one major problem with medicine: once the
> patent is expired,
> there is no reason for the company to do research into
> alternate uses of the drug.

So you are arguing to extend the patent claim to the use?

Wouter van Ooijen

-- -------------------------------------------
Van Ooijen Technische Informatica: http://www.voti.nl
consultancy, development, PICmicro products
docent Hogeschool van Utrecht: http://www.voti.nl/hvu


____________________________________________

2004\12\12@151452 by M. Adam Davis

flavicon
face
D. Jay Newman wrote:

>And patents have one major problem with medicine: once the patent is expired,
>there is no reason for the company to do research into alternate uses of
>the drug.
>  
>
Researchers in drug companies sometimes go through older drugs already
developed but not marketted for various reasons and try to find
something they help.  It's cheaper to adapt a current drug to a disease
than develop a new drug.

However, even when the patent expires the drug companies have all sorts
of 'novel' ways to extend the useful life of the patent, such as
patenting a manufacturing process, etc.

-Adam
____________________________________________

2004\12\13@081824 by Gerhard Fiedler
picon face
Wouter van Ooijen wrote:

>> In the end, this would probably mean that only big companies  could file
>> patents. Which also would mean that many of these patents  would be
>> filed about inventions done by others -- others who are too small  to
>> file their own patent, and too small to challenge the resulting patent
>> filed by the big guy in court. Which IMO would not only render the
>> basic  idea of patents completely useless, but would turn it upside
>> down.

> It would to some extent. [...]

> I would not like to abolish patents altogether. Note that without
> patents for instance no new medicine would be invented. No AIDs medicine
> would exist today.

I'm not sure this would really be a problem. One could argue that the
pharma industry is one of the biggest health problems we have. When you
think about it: most of what doctors know comes from pharma industry R&D
(just as most of what we know comes from electronic industry R&D). But of
course the pharma industry is not primarily interested in creating health
-- in fact, a thoroughly healthy population would be the death of the
industry. This is one of the areas where the capitalist model of
maximization of profit doesn't work very well.

So I don't think that it's far-fetched to think that if there were less
incentive to invest heavily in drugs (no patents), doctors' knowledge would
be less influenced by pharma industries that primarily want to sell drugs
-- and ever more of them --, and maybe they would be more knowledgeable in
areas that primarily create health (instead of profit).

Gerhard
____________________________________________

2004\12\13@131352 by Howard Winter

face
flavicon
picon face
On Sat, 11 Dec 2004 16:12:07 -0500 (EST), D. Jay Newman wrote:

> > So why isn't Arthur C. Clarke rich from the thousands of
> > infringements of the geosynchronous sallite 'invention'.
>
> Because he didn't apply for the patent.

And because Space was agreed to be "non-commercialisable" many years ago by a number of countries, the US
included.  Nobody owns the space which comprises the Clarke orbit, so who would he apply to anyway?

> > The patent system is thoroughly broken when only the rich
> > can afford to get a patent, and more importantly, enforce
> > their rights to it.
>
> Agreed.

Absolutely!  Any system of justice that depends on ability to pay for it is inherently unfair.

> This is why I would like to see it abolished, especially for programs and algorithms.

Come to the UK!  Software (and genes, business processes, algorithms - I think - and a number of other classes
of things) are specifically excluded from patentability here.  Hurry up though, because the EU is trying to
get this changed!  :-(((

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


____________________________________________

2004\12\13@153250 by Morgan Olsson

flavicon
face
Gary Hahnert 06:17 2004-12-12:
>The patent office granted them a patent on this technology despite the prior art.

Well when that is obvious, and documetnet as you say, then the patent is illegal and should be liquidated (rigth word) by the patent office, this thing never even touch court?

Or how does this thing work...

/Morgan

--
Morgan Olsson, Kivik, Sweden

____________________________________________

2004\12\13@195452 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face
BZZZZTTT! Wrong answer!

SX chips are direct replacements for PIC 16C5x. Pin for pin, binary (not
just source) code compatible, drop in, just the same as, etc...
http://www.sxlist.com/techref/ubicom/picreplace.htm

And Ubicom (ne: Scenix) got sued from here to there for it. Settled and now
on to making other processors as well as the SX and are not allowed to say
that the SX is a viable PIC replacement.

But it IS. And it can run at 75MIPS (not Mhz, that is 75 Million
Instructions Per Second) or can be run slower for LOWER power consumption at
down to 2.7V: Since the SX has a 4:1 pipeline, it can do in one cycle what
the PIC needs 4 to accomplish. Less cycles = less power @ same put-thru.

AND...

Someone just leaked documentation on some hidden instructions that allow
this 16C5x clone to do things like:
A) Implement software call and return stacks
B) Do true real time multi-thread task switching
C) Roll your own debugger
D) FIFO the W register (8 deep)
E) Push and POP the W, PC, Status, and FSR registers from their own 2 level
stacks (separate from the FIFO and the regular call return stack... Which is
8 levels deep BTW.)
F) send serial data in and out the OSC pins

Details at:
http://www.sxlist.com/ubicom/secrets.htm

Note: SX's are usually programmed in the "Parallax" form of mnemonics, but
the standard MPLAB mnemonics can also be used via macro translations
available at the site.
http://www.sxlist.com/techref/ubicom/uchip.src
MPLAB code can be translated to Parallax via
http://www.sxlist.com/cgi-bin/mpasm2sasm2.exe

Ahhh... I love SX's:
- $1.79 to $3.65 in single quantities, did I mention that is for a 75MIPS
controller?
http://www.parallax.com/sx/chips.asp

- under $100 full ICD development system with free BASIC compiler / code
generator (great for beginners, power for pros)
http://www.parallax.com/sx/programming_kits.asp

- massive volumes of code available 'cause it runs PIC stuff
http://www.sxlist.com

- and, AND, AAAANNNNDDDDD!!!!!

Sorry, I'll stop now... <GRIN> <VBG> <MANIACLE LAUGH>

---
James Newton, Host of SXList.com
spamBeGonejamesSTOPspamspamEraseMEsxlist.com 1-619-652-0593 fax:1-208-279-8767
SX FAQ / Code / Tutorials / Documentation:
http://www.sxlist.com Pick faster!




> {Original Message removed}

2004\12\13@200329 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
The stuff about how PICs are sometimes cloned, about the clones and what to
watch out for, etc... Is on topic, but I would really appreciate it if this
'vetching about the Patent office could make it to an [OT] tag?

Please? Thank you!

---
James Newton: PICList webmaster/Admin
KILLspamjamesnewtonspamBeGonespampiclist.com  1-619-652-0593 phone
http://www.piclist.com/member/JMN-EFP-786
PIC/PICList FAQ: http://www.piclist.com



____________________________________________

2004\12\14@041358 by Michael Rigby-Jones

picon face


>-----Original Message-----
>From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspamEraseMEmit.edu [@spam@piclist-bounces@spam@spamspam_OUTmit.edu]
>Sent: 14 December 2004 00:55
>To: 'Microcontroller discussion list - Public.'
>Subject: RE: [PIC] Fake PICs
>
>
>BZZZZTTT! Wrong answer!
>
>SX chips are direct replacements for PIC 16C5x. Pin for pin,
>binary (not just source) code compatible, drop in, just the
>same as, etc... http://www.sxlist.com/techref/ubicom/picreplace.htm
>
>And Ubicom (ne: Scenix) got sued from here to there for it.
>Settled and now on to making other processors as well as the
>SX and are not allowed to say that the SX is a viable PIC replacement.
>
>But it IS. And it can run at 75MIPS (not Mhz, that is 75
>Million Instructions Per Second)

75MHZ==75MIPS in SX land doesn't it?

Mike

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____________________________________________

2004\12\14@160836 by James Newtons Massmind

face picon face

> >
> >But it IS. And it can run at 75MIPS (not Mhz, that is 75 Million
> >Instructions Per Second)
>
> 75MHZ==75MIPS in SX land doesn't it?

Yes, I was trying to point out that it was not ONLY 75Mhz but also 75MIPS
and should have said that was because, as you say, 75Mhz == 75MIPS in SX
land.

The only exception is after jumps... That flushes the pipeline and you are
back to 4 cycles per instruction until the pipe refills. But in practice,
the difference is hard to notice.

---
James Newton, Host of SXList.com
spamBeGonejamesspamKILLspamsxlist.com 1-619-652-0593 fax:1-208-279-8767
SX FAQ / Code / Tutorials / Documentation:
http://www.sxlist.com Pick faster!



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