☞ Patents and Profits

2 Responses

  1. I have to disagree with you and ESR on the first comment. From IBM’s point of view, they pledged not to attack the use of the patents in OSS products. But now we are talking about a OSS product that directly attacks one of their existing products. From their point of view this would be the equivalent of Sun’s patent license where the license is revoked if you sue them first. They will view this as a “you started it, now all bets are off” kind of thing. They will stand by the pledge for the rest of OSS. Who does it hurt if the OS community then won’t use IBM patents? The OS community, that’s who. IBM will still make the same cooing noises about their patents, and the OS community will be mostly happy to believe them. Some will foreswear the use of the IBM portfolio, but most of them will just carry on.

    • I see the point, Brian (and PJ did it to death on Groklaw), but as far as I can tell TurboHercules has merely made a complaint to the European Commission, not initiated legal action.

      The patent pledged is not conditioned on threats and complaints; it is conditioned on patent litigation. Equally, IBM has not actually initiated litigation, merely sabre-rattled. What’s serious for us all is that IBM could rattle pledged patents at an open source-based activity.

      It would be akin to a country engaging in arms limitation agreements and then parading the same missiles on May Day. No actual rules broken, but a cause for very serious questions.

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