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Re: Chaum patent prices
Tim wrote in his (to me) spot on article (cypherpunks list) about
patents wrecking technolgical progress, and hindering all important
experimentation, and exploration of technology:
> [...] for example, can't use the Chaumian blinding protocols
> without hiring lawyers, paying Chaum his up-front fee, and laying
> out his designs and business plans (which he very probably doesn't
> even have!).
from Marcel's post:
> I just want to make a quick comment on the prices that have been
> floating around on this list ($150K +10%). No doubt this is what
> David asked at some point to some individual but it is NOT the
> 'list price' -- there is no such thing as a list price. It all
> depends on the application, business potential etc.
ie laying your plans out up front, plans which don't exist! Business
potential is not predictable, even obtaining appropriate status, and
banking licenses would presumably be doubtful unless a concerted,
organised effort were put together. Requiring business plans rules
out experimenting. The freeware mosaic browsers growth while being
developed by academia, and the WWW in general seems to be a model
which works rather well for the internet, if the netscape success
story is anything to go by.
Internet payment is rather harder to set up as a small experimental
operation due to the legal and political implications, but a *real*
example by Digicash would be nice. As in: if no licensing banks for
digicash can be found, perhaps it would be a good approach for
digicash to do it themselves, and support an offical exchange
mechanism, if such a mechanism took off, banks might be interested to
buy into an existing client base.
On the $150k + 10% figures, my apologies, I picked them up from
earlier posts on ecm I think, and had assumed incorrectly that this
was a fixed price.
> The up-front patent price should never be an obstacle for setting up
> business. If you wanna do serious business, I suggest to give David
> Chaum a call, or call Dan Eldridge. Phone numbers and email addresses
> can be found on our web pages. You might be surprised.
I am tempted to say: "how about free for a good cause :-)"
And it might (theoretically) be nice as an analogue of the
relationship between PGP and RSA with PGPs current free non-commercial
use license from RSA, that seems to have helped RSA quite a lot. RSA
are fond of quoting statistics about the world wide usage of their
algorithms, one rather suspects that PGP is included and a major
contributer to their figures :-)
However, being realistic, I expect the answer to be no. I can
understand this, but IMO it is still not a good situation from the
point of view of advancing technology.
My point however, is lets see a digicash payment system with a real
exchange and soon! I don't care who does it so long as it gets done!
> And may I remind you that the patent price that is quoted is just a
> tiny drop in the bucket compared to the kind of money spent on
> marketing budgets for systems like Mondex!!! You are really talking
> about a non-issue here, IMHO.
True enough. The 10% is likely more of a sticking point tho, but as
you say this is all negotiable. But hey, I don't have a high powered
business plan, I'm just a little cypherpunk be-moaning the fact that
there are no digicash licensing banks which I can use to take
advantage of Chaum's privacy technology, and instant on-line buying.
Just think how much hassle could be saved when buying the perl rsa
T-shirts even (no, I promise no more shirts arguments, I'm talking of
payment!), all the foreign cheques, the hugely exhorbitant charges
banks charge for writing small value foreign currency cheques, the
risks (and dubious technical legality in some places) of posting paper
cash in the mail, and the odd postal order which the bank would like
to charge more than the face value to cash (I kid you not, I asked a
few people to send different payment forms).
"Click here to buy" would be infinitely better.
The market is impatient, and inferiour, non-privacy preserving payment
forms are in danger of soon becoming entrenched as standard internet
Digicash has or soon will have MSN money systems to compete with.
#!/bin/perl -s-- -export-a-crypto-system-sig -RSA-3-lines-PERL
$m=unpack(H.$w,$m."\0"x$w),$_=`echo "16do$w 2+4Oi0$d*-^1[d2%Sa