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Open Source Patents Software Linux

Law Professors Developing Patent License For FOSS 41

Posted by Soulskill
from the necessary-evil dept.
Julie188 writes with this quote from a Networkworld article: "Two law professors from UC Berkeley have come up with a novel idea to protect open source developers from patent bullies. They call it the Defensive Patent License. They hope the DPL can address the objections FOSS developers have with patents the way the GPL addressed them for copyright. The DPL is similar to the concept of a defensive patent pool, but is not the same. The DPL is a bit more radical. It requires a bigger commitment from its members than the typical toe-in-the-water kind of pool, says Jason Schultz, former staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'The perception is that bigger companies only commit their least-effective, least-important patents to a patent pool,' he says. Schultz isn't pointing fingers at any particular pool. However critics of IBM's open source patent pledge often said it didn't cover the patents most relevant to the FOSS community."
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Law Professors Developing Patent License For FOSS

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  • I for one throw my support behind "no software patents." To support this plan would be hypocritical.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Friday May 07, 2010 @07:34PM (#32133960) Journal

    .. so this effort is nothing more than to sabotage the honesty stand against software patents due to software not being of patent-able matter.

    I'm absolutely certain Richard Stallman would agree.

    Software is provably not patentable. [abstractionphysics.net]

  • There are plenty of people who espouse the view that patent protection is simply a tool for big business to flex its muscle and block access to innovation by small players and competitors. However, the underlying rationale of patent protection is to force an invention onto the public record. Sure, the patent owner gets a monopoly but it is limited for a specific period of time (very limited if you compare it to the monopoly a copyright owner gets) and after that it is free for all to use – down to the very last detail. In fact, you can’t get a patent unless you put in the detail. So the patent databases in reality form the largest standardised library in the worldpublicly accessible (no paywall / subscription fees) and reliable (at least in relation to granted or issued patents). Why should the open source community consider patenting? Getting a patent for an invention blocks another party from getting a patent for the same invention. So, if a group of open source collaborators can secure a patent, it can choose to grant a royalty-free licence to the open source community to use it (just as open source software is licensed). This secures the invention for public use immediately. In other words, it blocks the ability for another party to patent that invention and prevents that other party from exploiting it for commercial gain. Check mate. Secondly, it secures the open source community the right to continue using the patented invention subject to the terms of the patent licence. A term of the licence may be that any modifications, enhancements or improvements are owned by the (open source) patent owner, thereby retaining all enhancements for public use. Thirdly, open source patented innovations reside on patent databases and thus form part of the same public record, which makes the public record more comprehensive and useful to the community at large. For more see http://bit.ly/dwJqE3 [bit.ly] & http://1p.com.au/ [1p.com.au]

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