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Comment: Re:Counterfeiters not competitors (Score 1) 268

They could make the argument; but I'm not sure that they could win it.

It is widely accepted that you can use a protected mark, so long as you don't do so deceptively, to provide information about your product(the usual formulation is "Store brand product, compare to Product(tm) active ingredients). Not a trademark violation, even if the trademark holder might not like it; just telling the customer what your product is intended to be compatible with.

In computing applications, since the data are usually being sent to an (often inflexible and buggy) program rather than to a human, and since identifying information is often necessary for operation, even more blatant use is often accepted. Most browsers still claim to be "Mozilla/5.0" followed by a bunch of other stuff, often equally trademarked and equally false, because that particular string was the only way to get the correct output from assorted crufty HTTP servers. In more adversarial cases, like Lexmark's battle with Static Control Components over toner lockout chips, SCC ended up being allowed to duplicate an even larger chunk of Lexmark's firmware, over Lexmark's objections; because that was deemed a technically necessary part of producing an interoperable toner cartridge.

The USB VID/PID is conceptually in a similar position to the browser UA: it's not hard to find; but not really there for human readers and subject to fairly specific technical limitations if you actually want it to work. "0x0403" is a valid VID. "0x0403 (compatible; China Cloneshop)" is not. It won't even work, much less request the correct driver. USB does provide for purely descriptive, human readable, information fields ('Manufacturer String Descriptor', 'Product String Descriptor', and 'Serial Number String Descriptor') and those aren't subject to technical constraints.

I certainly wouldn't want to be on defense if I were selling a product with somebody else's trademark misused in the string descriptor fields; but the VID/PID would be much more defensible.

Comment: Already in the UK (Score 1) 263

KFC and Burger King have been using touchscreen order & pay kiosks for some time, and I encountered it in a McD's for the first time about a month ago. The fact that we all use chip-and-PIN debit cards (and some people are already using NFC cards) probably helps - having to include the facility to feed dollar bills into a slot would put a crimp in it somewhat.

Comment: Re:Alternatives? Same problem.. (Score 1) 268

In this case, it is not questionable at all. They don't have any right to use the vendor ID (VID) assigned to FTDI.

Why not? The USB IF won't be happy about it, and not being able to trust VID/PID pairs makes driver devs sad and prone to resort to ugly fingerprinting heuristics; but none of that establishes a legal monopoly on "0x0403" for FTDI.

Comment: Re:Counterfeiters not competitors (Score 1) 268

That isn't actually so clear:

According to the die shots, the clone chips' implementation is more or less entirely different from the FTDI implementation. Intended to be pin-compatible, and exhibit the same behavior; but totally different silicon, not a cut and paste job.

The clones that are then labelled and sold as 'FTDI' are, certainly, in all kinds of violation of trademark law; but what of any that are just blob-topped or generically packaged and not represented as being actual FTDI? Not something FTDI likes, or is obliged to provide driver support for; but neither was the Compaq 'IBM PC compatible' BIOS.

Even if the (typically very harsh, though widely unenforced) laws regarding trademark infringing goods do actually allow FTDI to brick them in the field, they haven't actually established that a given chip is a counterfeit, rather than a mere clone, before bricking it. Unless they wish to claim that "0x0403" is entitled for trademark protection, the driver is hardly in a position to distinguish between the two.

Comment: Must have been a fun conference call... (Score 3, Insightful) 268

I can only imagine that the lucky guy who picked up the call from Redmond about 'so, we understand that you...made a few the behavior of your WHQL drivers that frankly don't make Windows Update look very good...' got quite an earful.

Even if MS thinks FTDI is on the crusade of the righteous, it certainly isn't to their advantage to have Windows Update involuntarily pulled into the fiasco.

Comment: Re:Not surprising (Score 1) 19

by pudge (#48219903) Attached to: Way to go, Republican loser

In a capitalist society, all services that government does today would be provided by private companies instead.

No, that is an anarchist society: no cops, no courts, no laws. If you have any of those, you have government employees. If you don't have government employees, you have none of those. Capitalism does not imply anarchy.

I won't even read the rest of your comment; an anonymous coward getting this fundamentally obvious thing so clearly wrong doesn't deserve more of a response.

Comment: Re:Pre-mapped environments are a dead end (Score 1) 280

by Lumpy (#48217981) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

Programming a race car to drive a perfectly mapped track is brain dead easy for even a 2nd year CS student.

Let cattle roam the track randomly, and the car drives at racing speed avoiding cows, goats, etc randomly darting in front of the car, then I'll be impressed.

Comment: Re:How hard is it to recognize a stoplight? (Score 1) 280

by Lumpy (#48217971) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

"Imagine a wage worker making $20/hr produces the factory sensor part, at a rate of 100 per hour through the operation of a machine."

Will never happen. Reality is very different...

Imagine a wage worker making $8/hr produces the factory sensor part, at a rate of 100 per hour through the operation of a machine.

Executives do NOT want to pay living wages. It will be an $8 an hour job or outsourced to China where they pay $3.25 an hour.

Pause for storage relocation.