Personally, I think this is a PR move to counter the FUD about OSS being (more) vulnerable to patents. They want to get the press to have headlines about a whole bunch of patents being not a problem for OSS, and maybe text in articles about IBM suggesting that it might crush anyone who tries to cause problems for OSS.
I wonder if IBM is going to try to get an exemption for OSS into a next EU software patent law. In the description of infringing uses, simply state that writing, distributing, and using software doesn't infringe patents if the software is under an OSS license. I wouldn't be too surprised if they were to try this, because OSS is generally unproductive to enforce patents against (even where this would be legal) and OSS is the main opposition to software patents.
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