11.07.07

Today’s Lessons on Software Patents

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Patents, Red Hat at 8:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Vendors Out Hunting

Andy Updegrove has just published another piece that describes Microsoft’s increased hunger for software patents. He also explains why this issue simply cannot be ignored, especially in the very few countries that actually honour this insanity, which is ownership of (and therefore taxation on use of) mathematics.

This leaves open source software, and particularly community software (as compared to FOSS that is supported by major vendors), more vulnerable to those that oppose it, or are threatened by it.

No Reform in Sight

It is very hard to believe that remedy is ahead given what we have seen in recent week. There is a very well-funded lobby against the needed reform. Too many companies have a lot to earn from a broken patent system [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. WIPO is a lost cause [1, 2, 3] although a discussion has just been held.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will host On November 6, 2007, at its Geneva headquarters, the sixth in a series of colloquia on various aspects of the patent system to provide information on different patent-related topics and facilitate exchange of information among stakeholders.

More (Software) Patent Lunacy

Yet another lawsuit. The cause: patent licensing.

Alcatel-Lucent set up a trust to hold patents for MPEG-2 technology in violation of an agreement to share the inventions in the patent-licensing pool, MPEG LA said this week in a Delaware Chancery Court complaint.

This introduction of patents and intrusion into protocols that we all use (videos in this case) is unnecessary and unwanted. As the following new article tells, it hurts Linux too.

The gOS distribution can’t be redistributed freely because it includes proprietary software to support such patented media formats as MP3 and MPEG-2 files, as well as a licensed player for DVDs. Like other Linux distributions, nonetheless, it will offer an online software-update system, and Liu says that the company will be able to tell how many of the gPCs stay up and running with his company’s Linux.

Red Hat was in the same type of mess a couple of months ago. It leads to delays and definitely hurts the consumer. The next post will discuss these developments in China a little further.

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