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Re: New Vax - future directions :-)

>>> Curious - what would the commercial implication be if, say, a new
>>> VAX architecture were to take shape in the FPGA world?

Commercial?  None, probably; it strikes me as unlikely that anyone has
any commercially relevant applications for VAXen, and if there are any
they are probably severely hardware-specific (eg, existing custom Qbus
hardware) and thus irrelevant to Ragge's FPGA VAX.

>>> Does anyone have "rights" to the ISA?
>> IANAL, but there probably are three parts to that question.

I'd add

0. In which jurisdiction(s)?

While there are some commonalities (eg, the Berne convention for
copyrights), almost all of this stuff varies at least somewhat from
jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

>> 1. Patents.  If any existed (likely) those are almost certainly long
>> expired.
> I very much doubt anything I've written is covered by patents...

It wouldn't surprise me much if, for example, DEC had patented the
four-access-mode scheme.  (I don't think such a patent would have been
valid, because there were prior art protection schemes with multiple
rings, but that doesn't always prevent a patent from being granted.)

>> 2. Trademarks.  Possible, so don't call it "vax".
> I searched the US trademark database, but it seems as all those old
> trademarks are dead.

Is the US the only jurisdiction anyone cares about?  (Admittedly, they
may be the most stringent one anyone cares about, and probably would be
the last jursidction in which any existing trademarks would be let go.)

> Hm, how do you register a trademark in the US? :-)

Back thirty(ish) years ago, there was a form to fill out (and likely
fees to pay); I got a casual glance at a copy of that form a friend was
filling out for a small consultancy.  Now, I don't know, but probably
something along those lines.

You might need to be using it in trade first; that's the kind of thing
that I would expect might vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

>> 3. Copyright.  I don't see how that can be applied to an ISA, [...]
> Can an ISA even be copyrighted?

I've seen it said that one of the current architectures (ARM? MIPS? one
of the RISC ones) has a company that believes it owns the rights to the
ISA in some sense.  I don't know how true that is, and if it is I don't
know how legally correct such a belief is, but, especially in a
jurisdiction as barratrous as the USA, it (a) wouldn't surprise me and
(b) might be ill-advised to challenge.

How much that matters to someone in Sweden (if the implication of the
.se is correct) is, of course, a matter for Swedish law and treaties.

> And could it be in 1977? :-)

Probably not, I would guess.

But I, of course, am no more of an IP lawyer than most (all?) of us.

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