Originally Posted by gilgamesh
Yes, I see. There is a distinction between patents and intellectual property.
But to my best knowledge having a patent on e.g. AGA does not make sense, because you could "invent" another chip that has all the functions of AGA, but a completely different layout than Commodore's Lisa chip. Workbench, manuals etc are intellectual property.
So is there any patent that has any practical value?
I know that C= had a patent on two buttoned mice. Yet, three buttoned mice don't infringe that patent.
Well, here's the thing, it does constitute patent infringement IF you reversed engineer (ie. examine the original chip design) and make a new design with the original in mind. It goes with the territory of plagarism in authorship. If you examine my code to make your own version of doing the same thing, that is technically copyright infringement. You are suppose to do without examining the works of others to make your own design. It would be modifying it. If all you do is streamline it then it isn't new. O course, in court - the battles can get really muddy and go on to impracticality.
Is there any patent of practical value... who knows but you would have to at some point examine how the existing design works to make a clone that is functionally compatible. Technically, reverse engineering hardware is ILLEGAL (if it results in a clone or new chip based on that of another) because it constitutes patent infringement. You have to examine the design of a chip to make a clone of that chip. You have to examine the semiconductor substrates and how they connect, analyze the timing and in some cases, leaked out copies of chip schematics. However, once patents expires, it wouldn't matter. New designs can be based on the original and creative new features or functions in themselves maybe patentable.
The question, is the patents of practical value? Depends on what you intend to do. When they expire, they are part of public domain. So, would those designs be of practical value? Could be. Lets say, I want to develop a bitplane graphics system of 3d reality with multiple screen layers. Amiga technology could be a practical base line. I just have to think of multiple screen outputs from different views.
--------- screen plane 0
--------- screen plane 1
--------- screen plane 2
--------- screen plane 3
---------------- front s.p. 0
---------------- front s.p. 1
---------------- front s.p. 2
---------------- front s.p. 3
|||| left ----|||| Right
|||| sp.-----|||| s.p.
|||| 0-------|||| 0
|||| to------|||| to
|||| 3-------|||| 3
---------------- back s.p. 0
---------------- back s.p. 1
---------------- back s.p. 2
---------------- back s.p. 3
Each screen plane would bit bitplanable up to say 32 bitplanes.
Each screen plane would have a sprite plane (the sprite plane could in theory have 0 (invisible) to 32 bit layers.
Take this into account and you have a very complex - virtual reality type environment potential. This can be mapped to say 4 actual screens. Each screen plane can be at different resolutions. Could that lead to a futuristic hardware platform. Maybe. Could that lead to a virtual hardware platform... perhaps. Maybe first and be simulated on various hardware.
It might be a little far fetch for Amiga Inc. to do on real silicon today but can we imagine this in a virtualized system platform?