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 Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
Posts: 165
I think understanding the law is also paramount to understanding the times of the semiconductor industry.

Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984

Quote:
The Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 (or SCPA) is an act of the US Congress that makes the layouts of integrated circuits legally protected upon registration, and hence illegal to copy without permission.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semicondu ... ct_of_1984

I learned about this while studying former senator Gary Hart:

Quote:
Hart cosponsored the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 with Senator Charles Mathias, which was signed into law. The act created a new category of intellectual property rights for mask works for computer chips that protected the Silicon Valley from cheap foreign imitations.[10] Similar legislation had been proposed in every Congress since 1979.[10] It led to Hart being called the leader of the Atari Democrats.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Hart

Prior to then, there wasn't a lot of protections for masks.

So what does this have to do with history or anything we know of today especially when it touches on something that happened over 40 years ago...??

Did Commodore have the full rights to the 6502 or did some rights still belong to Motorolla?

According to the Wikipedia article, Motorolla had 25 patents and Allen Bradley decided not to fight this case but sold his interest in MOS back to Motorola. Mike James took papers that belonged to Motorola and had to give them back. Motorolla was awarded $200,000 and both companies agreed to cross license microprocessor patents.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology_6502

If they had to return the documents then was this technology really theirs and did they have full production rights?

Everyone thinks this is a moot point ( a question of no importance) because it happened over 40 years ago but this tells me what kind of climate and practices there were back then.


Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:06 pm

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1632
You've pondered about
> Did Commodore have the full rights to the 6502 or did some rights still belong to Motorolla?
elsewhere, I think. I can see no basis at all for thinking along those lines. The 6502 belonged to MOS - there was a suit with Moto, and the suit was settled. That's the end of Moto in the story. MOS was bought by Commodore. At that point Commodore holds all the rights to 6502.

At a later point, WDC gets started, and comes to an agreement with Commodore that they can do what they do.

Now, I knew that masks had 10 years protection, but I didn't know that this came about only in 1984. So thanks for that!


Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:11 pm

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
Posts: 165
BigEd wrote:
You've pondered about
> Did Commodore have the full rights to the 6502 or did some rights still belong to Motorolla?
elsewhere, I think. I can see no basis at all for thinking along those lines. The 6502 belonged to MOS - there was a suit with Moto, and the suit was settled. That's the end of Moto in the story. MOS was bought by Commodore. At that point Commodore holds all the rights to 6502.

At a later point, WDC gets started, and comes to an agreement with Commodore that they can do what they do.

Now, I knew that masks had 10 years protection, but I didn't know that this came about only in 1984. So thanks for that!


The point I saw was in the Wikipedia article:

Quote:
The 6501/6502 introduction in print and at Wescon was an enormous success. The downside was the extensive press coverage got Motorola's attention. In October 1975, Motorola reduced the price of a single 6800 microprocessor from $175 to $69. The $300 system design kit was reduced to $150 and it now came with a printed circuit board.[39] On November 3, 1975, Motorola sought an injunction in Federal Court to stop MOS Technology from making and selling microprocessor products. They also filed a lawsuit claiming patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Motorola claimed that seven former employees joined MOS Technology to create that company's microprocessor products.[40]

Motorola was a billion-dollar company with a plausible case and lawyers. On October 30, 1974, Motorola had filed numerous patent applications on the microprocessor family and was granted twenty-five patents. The first was in June 1976 and the second was to Bill Mensch on July 6, 1976 for the 6820 PIA chip layout. These patents covered the 6800 bus and how the peripheral chips interfaced with the microprocessor.[41] Motorola began making transistors in 1950 and had a portfolio of semiconductor patents. Allen-Bradley decided not to fight this case and sold their interest in MOS Technology back to the founders. Four of the former Motorola engineers were named in the suit: Chuck Peddle, Will Mathys, Bill Mensch and Rod Orgill. All were named inventors in the 6800 patent applications. During the discovery process, Motorola found that one engineer, Mike James, had ignored Peddle's instructions and brought his 6800 design documents to MOS Technology.[42] In March 1976, the now independent MOS Technology was running out of money and had to settle the case. They agreed to drop the 6501 processor, pay Motorola $200,000 and return the documents that Motorola contended were confidential. Both companies agreed to cross-license microprocessor patents.[43] That May, Motorola dropped the price of a single 6800 microprocessor to $35. By November Commodore had acquired MOS Technology.[44][45]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology_6502

If they had to give the papers back then was it their technology?


Could a chip that was once legal become illegal?


Thu Mar 31, 2016 5:31 pm

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1632
They had to give the papers back because they didn't own them. When a case is settled, the terms of the settlement describe the new situation. In this case, MOS is free and clear to make anything they like except the 6501, and Moto get some patent licenses for free.

It's not impossible that at some later point 6502 could be found to contain some other unlicensed intellectual property, but that never happened. It could not be any of Moto's, because the settlement would have declared that MOS could now continue unhindered with respect to Moto's claims. For example, it could be that TI or IBM could step up and say the 6502 used some of their inventions. But it didn't happen, or if it did, it was settled quietly.

If you're missing something, it's what it means to settle a case.


Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:13 pm
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