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Thread: SGI patent scare

  1. #1
    Senior Member Frequent Contributor
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    SGI patent scare

    Okay, I guess you've all seen this story - Microsoft buying up a whole shedload of fundamental 3D patents from SGI.

    Can any of our resident driver writers (or anybody else, for that matter) comment on whether this is a genuine threat to OpenGL implementors?

  2. #2

    Re: SGI patent scare

    Do we have the patent numbers yet?

  3. #3
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    There are some interesting comments on the subject here:
    http://slashdot.org/articles/02/01/16/1824256.shtml

  4. #4
    Senior Member OpenGL Guru Humus's Avatar
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    I think people are overreacting a little. Reading this link it looks like more of a matter of M$ buying to rights for something, maybe some tech for DX9, what do I know?
    But they say it's a "patent cross-license", not "buying up OpenGL" like lots of people seams to read it.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator OpenGL Guru imported_dorbie's Avatar
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    No Humus,

    "and the transfer of certain additional intellectual property rights to Microsoft"

    This is the press release that tried to snow everyone. It's not about buying up OpenGL, but it is about buying SGI's graphics patents.

  6. #6
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    What about patents on high level shader language stuff?
    Does any company have something like this?

  7. #7
    Super Moderator OpenGL Guru imported_dorbie's Avatar
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    Yes,

    I think SGI has (or had) some shader related patents, I suspect this it one of the things SGI would have held onto, but who knows. Mr Gates et.al. may now own it.

  8. #8
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    Isn't SGI very dependent on OpenGL ( software systems layered on top of OpenGL, for example ) ? If that's the case ( which I assume ) then they wouldn't sell something that would negatively affect their own products.

  9. #9
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    I thought these patents are related to game console technology ...

  10. #10
    Super Moderator OpenGL Guru imported_dorbie's Avatar
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    Re: SGI patent scare

    Patents are for inventions, in this case horizontal technologies which can be applied in big SGI workstations, PCs or game consoles.

    There is no legal difference between a graphics patent used in a workstation and the same graphics patent used in a game console. Heck the hardware is the same in this case too. The XBox graphics system is just a slightly enhanced GeForce3.

    Go read that article again, you missed some things I read there. When someone writes 'the bulk of SGI's graphics patents, (or words to that effect), they DON'T mean some piddly little widget developed for the N64. I doubt anything in the N64 gave rise to any new patents at SGI. It might have, but not a significant number of them. This sounds like it's the whole ball of wax. SGI haven't just sold the family silver, they've stripped the lead off the roof and sold it to the guy who burned down their mill.

    At least there's no doubt left about SGI's expressed intentions, graphics has been officially declared "non core" at SGI.


    [This message has been edited by dorbie (edited 01-17-2002).]

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