[Coco] S-video Prospects...

jdaggett at gate.net jdaggett at gate.net
Sat Dec 17 19:15:38 EST 2005


If my memory serves me correctly, patents are good for up to 17 yrs 
and are not renewable. I would rather think that many of the patents 
on the Coco line of computers have expired on or before 2003.  


On 17 Dec 2005 at 13:43, Neil Morrison wrote:

From:           	"Neil Morrison" <neilsmorr at hotpop.com>
To:             	"CoCoList for Color Computer Enthusiasts" <coco at maltedmedia.com>
Subject:        	Re: [Coco] S-video Prospects...
Date sent:      	Sat, 17 Dec 2005 13:43:09 -0800
Send reply to:  	CoCoList for Color Computer Enthusiasts <coco at maltedmedia.com>
	<mailto:coco-request at maltedmedia.com?subject=unsubscribe>
	<mailto:coco-request at maltedmedia.com?subject=subscribe>

> Somewhere I have a note on the final owner of AST, Beny Alagem. He is
> out of computers and now owns the Beverly Hilton.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beny_Alagem
> Neil
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Roger Merchberger" <zmerch at 30below.com>
> > How much trouble would a person be in if he or she were able to...
> > "replicate" the PAL board? [[ Admittedly, it's not like said person
> > would be costing Tandy any lost profits... ]]
> From: Frank Durda IV (uhclem.feb99 at nemesis.lonestar.org)
> Subject: Re: Why Did Tandy stop making computers
> Newsgroups: comp.sys.tandy
> Date: 1999/02/13
> All Tandy intellectual property related to its computer products,
> which includes designs, software, and related patents, was sold on
> July 1st, 1993 to AST Research, later renamed AST Computers.  AST
> immediately got in financial trouble and obtained loans in exchange
> for company ownership from Samsung Electronics of South Korea.  By
> 1995, Samsung became the majority shareholder due to the increasing
> loans and in early 1997 finally obtained all of AST.  At this point,
> these rights transferred to Samsung, as AST simply became a division
> (or more accurately, a marketing name) for Samsung.
> In December of 1998, Samsung gave up on AST and sold their AST
> divisions name and "intellectual property rights" to a group of
> investors, headed by the former head of Packard Bell, who plan to sell
> computer products under the AST name.  In theory, that means the old
> Tandy rights passed to "AST Mark II" at this point, but someone will
> actually have to ask Samsung whether that stuff was in the deal.
> In late 1996, I had a general agreement from the President of AST to
> release the old Tandy material to the public domain, including all
> software that didn't use Microsoft Windows.  However, AST lawyers got
> involved and citing a baseless fear of releasing something to the
> public domain that might cause them a legal liability, they buried the
> project when it was only a few days from being a press release. 
> Shortly after, AST became Samsung, and all future mails on the subject
> always ended-up in the Samsung/AST legal department. If I got any
> reply at all, it was a "we still have reservations about this but will
> investigate the matter" form letter.
> Considering that AST did not ever use any of the patents or technology
> obtained from Tandy that was older than 1991 (apart from a few patents
> used in a TI vs AST lawsuit defense that had been used the same way in
> the TI vs Tandy lawsuit a few years earlier), nor did AST attempt any
> serious search for this sort of material at the time (I was there and
> they were more interested in other trivial things), this stuff is
> essentially abandoned and the ownership rights are not being enforced
> at all.
> Therefore, AST Mark II or Samsung technically do own these Tandy items
> but could probably never prove such ownership or even knowledge of
> ownership in any court.   At last check, you have to know it exists
> and it is yours to be able to claim something is yours.   You can't
> draw a big circle and claim everything inside the circle is yours. 
> USL vs BSDI and UC proved that argument was very flawed.
> AST Mark II (or Samsung) would have to spend way too much money
> determining who actually owned a given ball to sue anybody over it.
> As to the older ROMs, I can't speak for the CoCo side of the shop
> (some contained Microsoft and some contained Microware code), but two
> of the "real" Model III ROMs and the Level II Model I ROM contained
> code acknowledged to originally be a licensed Microsoft product but
> there is Tandy-originated code in there too.  The Model III ROMs that
> came with the Model 4, 4D and the disk image for the 4P were NOT (I
> repeat again NOT) a Microsoft product, and these had a Tandy
> Copyright.  Tandy deliberately reverse-engineered, modified and
> released their own version of the ROM and Disk BASIC, due to a royalty
> dispute that had been brewing between Tandy and Microsoft for about
> two years.  This happened prior to me getting into the system software
> group, but I was told at the time that the last year or so of Model
> III production III systems had this "Microsoft-free" code in them as
> well. The key people who worked on that "Microsoft-free" project are
> now both deceased (Ron Light - whose name you will find in early Model
> IV ROMs, see the string "RON" - and George Robertson).  Dave Cozad
> also worked on the no-Microsoft code at various times prior to 1983
> and I took over work on it around the fall of 1983, long after Ron and
> George had moved on to other projects.
> For Model IIIs, the "C" ROM was always a pure-Tandy creation.  Only
> the "B" ROM and part of the "A" ROM were ever something licensed from
> Microsoft. All three ROMs (and later two) on the Model 4s were all
> code that Tandy claimed full ownership of.
> Tandy, in selling the store to AST back in 1993, got the right to
> continue to support their customers, and that was taken to mean (by
> Tandy) that Tandy could make and sell replacement disks for operating
> systems and things owned by Tandy.  However, Tandy got greedy and
> started making copies of anything they had ever sold, regardless of
> who wrote it and who held the copyright, including products that Tandy
> never actually duplicated/manufactured, like SCO for PCs.  Microsoft,
> Lotus, Borland and lots of other people could have sued Tandy big-time
> over the replacement disk program, particularly after Tandy stopped
> looking for proof of purchase before selling anybody a $7 copy of
> anything, but the rightful owners didn't sue Tandy, at least not yet.
> Frank Durda IV
> -- 
> Coco mailing list
> Coco at maltedmedia.com
> http://five.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/coco

More information about the Coco mailing list