[This article was written in February 2013 and was accidentally never published]
Summary: IBM — not just Microsoft — part of the problem known as software patenting
THIS morning we chastised IBM for its OIN strategy; but IBM plays a role in actively promoting software patents, and not just in the US (IBM promoted software patents in Europe and New Zealand for example). The other day we found this report:
Software patents, facing new scrutiny in the U.S., drive innovation and protect huge investments by developers, representatives of software companies said during a Capitol Hill briefing.
Here is a key part which says: “The U.S. patent system isn’t perfect, but lawmakers and judges shouldn’t solve current controversies by eliminating software patents altogether, executives with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Covia Labs and Procter & Gamble said during a briefing Thursday before congressional staffers in Washington, D.C.”
The Hill has published “Microsoft, IBM executives defend software patents”, which means that they go against Obama's apparent will.
Executives for IBM and Microsoft defended the value of software patents on Thursday, saying they are key to protecting their companies’ competitive edge and innovation.
“We think software patents or patents that are implemented in software are important and valuable, and necessary to protect the investments that we make in research and development and to preserve our competitive advantage,” Neil Abrams, vice president and assistant general counsel at IBM, told The Hill following a Thursday briefing hosted by BSA |The Software Alliance and National Association of Manufacturers on Capitol Hill about patents. “We think it’s important for the American economy.”
IBM is not helping the FOSS community or even Linux by doing what it does here. IBM was also a funder of the BSA until a few years back. Meanwhile in Seattle (Microsoft’s back yard), Motorola/Google is needing to defend itself from Microsoft’s software patents. Groklaw has details on that:
Matt Rizzolo at The Essential Patent Blog reports that there’s a new order [PDF] from Judge James L. Robart in the Microsoft v. Motorola litigation in Seattle.
For Microsoft it’s predictable to assault FOSS with patents, but why does IBM continue to do this massive disservice to the FOSS community? █