Here is the pertinent blurb, "So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical."
I think PicoTurbo showed that best defense is prior art. Other than that, you have to show that your implementation is meaningfully (approaching 100%) different than what ARM has valid patents for. Note that the patents cover only a small part of the processor though.
Yes I am sure that interfaces (the ISA in this case) are not patentable or copyrightable. To be sure, look at the paperwork in the PicoTurbo case. The patents ARM sued about were about implementations of the ISA, not the ISA itself.
I don't know if ARM paid PicoTurbo "millions to go away" as part of the settlement.
If that is right i might have to change my position on it being a win for ARM.
But even if they did spend millions it was probably money will spent to send out the message that there is little to be gained commercially by trying to clone an ARM processor.
PicoTurbo eventually settled out of court.
I would say it was a win for ARM.
PicoTurbo acknowledged ARM's patents and its rights to enforce them and agreed to stop its sales and marketing efforts on the disputed products and IP. PicoTurbo's existing customers were "legitimized" by ARM and allowed to go to market with support from PicoTurbo.
As PicoTurbo could no longer sell I think the company was dissolved soon after this happened in December 2001.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.