[Biojava-l] File formats

Matthew Pocock matthew_pocock at yahoo.co.uk
Thu Nov 20 06:55:00 EST 2003

Hi Rich,

We should check this out. This is one of the bizar things about digital 
IP right now - the data in the abi file is obviosly yours, but 
potentially you are not alowed to access it in non-blessed ways because 
the encoding is proprietary. I have a feeling that we would have been in 
trouble if our code was based upon their serializer/deserializer code 
(which it is not) due to copyright issues. SW pattents don't work in the 
EU/UK (yet). Further than that I don't know. Oh, and IANAL.


(goes to speak with someone who may know more)

Rich Heath wrote:

>I am a software developer based in the UK that has
>been asked about producing a piece of software that
>outputs data from the files in ABI sequencers in a
>more human readable format. I hope the
>org.biojava.bio.program.abi package will let me do
>this, but I have some concerns about the legal
>implications of using and contributing to this
>Does anyone know what the legal position is with
>regards reverse engineering the Applied Biosystems
>file format (and any other file formats come to that
>matter)? I would imagine this file format is the
>property of Applied Biosystems and they would not like
>me producing applications that read from it unless I
>provide them with a sizable licence fee (although I
>guess I am not reverse engineering it if I just use
>the above package, just if I contribute to it?). 
>Many thanks in advance for your help, 
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