[time-nuts] HP 5335A and HP-IB (GP-IB)

John Miles jmiles at pop.net
Mon Aug 2 06:08:59 UTC 2010

> You can't copyright an instruction set.  Any patent protection NI may
> have had would have expired long ago.

Any sane person would think so.

> There is nothing preventing anyone
> that is willing to go to the development effort from making a NI
> clone, and
> several companies existed doing just that.


Here, the USPTO has seen fit to grant National Instruments ownership of the
general concept of a C callback function, when it happens to be used in a
GPIB interface layer.  If you're in the GPIB hardware business, you cannot
release an API for your hardware that supports the ibnotify() function
without licensing this patent.  Needless to say, LabVIEW requires

Agilent does have an NI488.2-compatible API layer for their hardware, and
ICS has been shipping NI488.2-compatible hardware for a long time now.
Agilent may have been able to license the patent from NI; in any event NI
wouldn't be crazy enough to start a patent war with them.  But I have no
idea how ICS has handled the issue, and I'm not aware of anyone else who has

If you live in the US, you might consider writing to your legislators to try
to educate them on the economic effects of software patents.  You can also
contribute your thoughts on post-'Bilski' patentability to the USPTO here:
http://www.uspto.gov/news/pr/2010/10_35.jsp .

-- john, KE5FX

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