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software patents

"EU Commissioner Kroes' deal with Microsoft creates real dangers to Europe's growing open source economy, warns the FFII. Using patent licenses that exclude businesses, the software monopolist has turned the EU competition ruling into a victory, and now gets implicit support from the Commission to proceed aggressively against its competitors.

Neelie Kroes European Commissioner for Competition and Microsoft agreed that the royalties payable for the interoperability information will be 10,000 Euros, and that Microsoft can use its EPO software patents to charge 0.4 percent of all the sales of its competitors. The FFII says that these conditions effectively exclude open source competitors and add costs for all who wish to communicate with Microsoft products. This is a new transaction cost for all society, its the opposite of an open Internet." -- Read more

"I suggest we do something to bring about patent reform in the United States. Look, maybe just start with a discussion in your local GLUG, LUG, FSUG or developer group. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. I don't care if you organize a good, old-fashioned 1960's-styled demonstration (complete with flower power signs). Call your congressperson, senator, mayor - whoever. But let's start working on this whole patent reform thing.

The FOSS community should write IBM and Sun and all the rest and encourage them to do the same. Heck, go down the road to the farmer milking his cows and get him in on it, if you can. And maybe our friends across the pond can scream about the "bloody legal morass" that America has become. And no, I don't care which pond - it can be the Atlantic or the Pacific or both. The point is, we need to scream to the highest heaven for patent reform.

Groklaw reports that "IP Innovation LLC has just filed a patent infringement claim against Red Hat and Novell. It was filed October 9, case no. 2:2007cv00447, IP Innovation, LLC et al v. Red Hat Inc. et al, in Texas."

The article further investigates the implicit link between this lawsuit and Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer's recent statements, bringing forward evidence of two Microsoft employees crossing over to the Acacia, of whom IP Innovation firm is a subsidiary and therefore concluding: "So much for being Microsoft's little buddy".

"Google is following IBM and Oracle in circling the wagons around open source Linux. The company is expected to announce Tuesday that it has become a member of the Open Invention Network, a group that pools Linux patents as a means of turning back any patent infringement challenge to Linux.

The addition of Google means seven companies have formed a bulwark of protection around Linux.

"This is a way for everyone to get together and look after Linux development," said Chris DiBona, open source programs manager for Google in an interview. Every user of the Google search engine is being supported by Linux, and Google manages its internal Web indexing and analysis of Web pages with systems running on clusters of Linux servers.

"Crustless peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, a way to move sideways on a swing, a technique for exercising cats using a laser pointer — these are among the inventions patented in the United States over the years. Now Congress is trying to cut down on poor-quality or downright ridiculous patents, and at the same time adapt the patent system to a high-tech era in which computers and other electronic devices may contain thousands of patentable parts.

Rather than the patent system being the incentive for "so much of our innovation, it has become a constraint on innovation," said Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., author of a sweeping patent reform bill that passed the House Judiciary Committee on July 18." -- Read more