> > Unfortunately, anything covered by a patent, as I hinted
> > above, is verboten.

Er, doesn't it depend on what is patented?  If the h/w itself is
patented, but its software-visible interface is not, there should be
no problem writing a driver for that h/w.  OTOH if the algorithms
used in the driver are patented it would be an infringement to
reproduce them.

> But if I remember my legal and ethics course correctly if you
> can arrive at a conclusion through your own research then your
> reasonably clear.

Not under patent, at least in the US, last I heard.  (IANAL)
A patent is infringed by any reproduction of the technology
involved, even entirely independently.  Someone described the
justification as avoiding a situation in which it would pay
to be ignorant of what others had done.

> For example, the drivers are closed source but the hardware itself
> is an entirely separate issue. So if you can create your own
> drivers by your own research into how the hardware is setup then
> the drivers created could licensed under your own terms- open
> source or otherwise.

At least in the US, that works for copyright but not for patent.

> The drivers and hardware may operate together but are separate
> items of creativity, therefore do not operate under the same
> patent.

Again, it depends on exactly what is patented (strictly speaking,
what the patent's "claims" are.)
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