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> > As far as I'm aware, if I find a patented can-opener that
> someone has
> > carelessly dropped on the pavement, the patent owner has no
> right to
> > restrict the way in which I use it.
> No. You can look at it, and figure out how it's made, how it
> achieves its function, etc. But you cant take that
> information and make another one, or tell people how to make
> other ones.
The patent stops me producing my own product that steals their ideas,
but it doesn't stop me using their product in any way I choose. So what
does the licence let me do that I couldn't do anyway?
Of course it's possible that they have tried to patent not only the
can-opener, but the process of using it to open cans. In that case
(assuming that any English court upheld such a patent, which is
unlikely) I would require a license to use the product in the way it is
intended to be used, but not to use it in any other, more imaginative
I don't think you're correct to imply that a patent inhibits any flow of
information. To get a patent, you have to disclose details of your
invention and put it in the public domain, and there is no restriction
on other people passing that information on.