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IBM's patent pledge

IBM's patent pledge

Posted Jan 13, 2005 17:11 UTC (Thu) by iabervon (subscriber, #722)
Parent article: IBM's patent pledge

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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IBM's patent pledge

Posted Jan 14, 2005 7:38 UTC (Fri) by hingo (guest, #14792) [Link]

But then you would need to have a EU directive which defines what is Open Source and what is not. Or, if we use the current practice (which they wouldn't) the OSI would become an EU agency doing this. So in short, it's just not gonna happen.

IBM's patent pledge

Posted Jan 14, 2005 21:12 UTC (Fri) by iabervon (subscriber, #722) [Link]

For the purposes of determining whether a particular activity is using Open Source Software, it's relatively simple. You simply ask whether the user or, in the case of a transfer, the recipient gets the FSF's "four freedoms". Since the patent law applies to each use and doesn't have to be carried along the chain of sublicensing and distribution, a lot of the complexity of particular licenses doesn't matter. A lot of the possibilities for licenses which are "Free" for the purposes of users but which let the owner of the original code take modifications proprietary would be protected by this clause, but that wouldn't matter too much if a proprietary version would then lose the protection.

IBM's patent pledge

Posted Jan 21, 2005 8:46 UTC (Fri) by Wol (guest, #4433) [Link]

"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."

STUFF "if the software is under an OSS license."

Just make it "if it's software". Which is the current legal position. And, according to all the *reasons* given for harmonising EU practice, is *not* *supposed* *to* *change*. So let's just make it explicit!

The problem is, the wording of the directive has a clear, already accepted, legal meaning which is very different from the intended meaning as used in the directive. Which is why everybody is saying that the *effect* of the directive will be very different from the *intent* of the directive.

Cheers,
Wol


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