Group: Linux potentially infringes 283 patents
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Thread: Group: Linux potentially infringes 283 patents

  1. #1
    AO French Antique News Whore
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    Group: Linux potentially infringes 283 patents

    Linux potentially infringes 283 patents, including 27 held by Microsoft but none that have been validated by court judgments, according to a group that sells insurance to protect those using or selling Linux against intellectual-property litigation.
    Dan Ravicher, founder and executive director of the Public Patent Foundation, conducted the analysis for Open Source Risk Management. OSRM is like an insurance company, selling legal protection against Linux copyright-infringement claims. It plans to expand the program to patent protections.

    Of the 283 patents, 98 are owned by Linux allies, OSRM said, including 60 from IBM, 20 from Hewlett-Packard and 11 from Intel. The months-long review examined versions 2.4 and 2.6 of the kernel, or heart, of Linux, Ravicher said.

    Though OSRM's patent protection won't start until the beginning of 2005, it has set pricing: $150,000 per year for coverage of lawsuit and settlement costs of up to $5 million, Ravicher said.

    OSRM's patent-protection plans are the latest development in the sometimes uneasy interaction between the open-source programming movement, which shares code freely, and the proprietary software world, which puts a premium on technology as private property. The issue became a very real concern when the SCO Group sued IBM, arguing that Big Blue had moved proprietary Unix technology into Linux against the terms of a contract.

    And the issue has been getting more attention. A just-surfaced 2-year-old memo from a Hewlett-Packard executive highlighted patent-infringement risks in Linux, and Linux foe Microsoft is putting increasing emphasis on its patent portfolio, with a goal to apply for 3,000 new patents this year.

    Linux programmers will sidestep any patent infringement problems that arise, said Stuart Cohen, chief executive of Open Source Development Labs, a Linux consortium that employs Linux leader Linus Torvalds.

    "As we said in response to the SCO allegations, OSDL is prepared to work with the development community to remedy any offending code in Linux that infringes on the legitimate legal rights of others, and we extend that as well to any issues around patents," Cohen said.

    Although OSRM stands to profit from the intellectual-property fears concerning Linux, the start-up takes pains to ally itself with the open-source cause--in part because more Linux users means a larger market, Ravicher said.

    Open-source advocate Bruce Perens is on OSRM's board, and the company employs Pamela Jones of the SCO-watcher Groklaw Web site to help compile details on the history of Unix and Linux technology. And Ravicher represents the Free Software Foundation, the group that created the General Public License (GPL) that governs Linux and many other open-source programs.

    In Ravisher's opinion, 283 patents could be a basis for Linux infringement lawsuits, but that leaves open the question of whether a court would find actual infringement or whether the patent would ruled invalid. Of patents challenged in court, about half are found to be invalid, Ravicher said.

    That number isn't unusually high for a package comparable to Linux, he added. Microsoft, for example, faces several patent suits, he said.

    An artifact of current patent law in the United States is that companies and individuals are discouraged from seeing if their products infringe, Ravicher said.

    "If you have knowledge and are found to infringe, a court can punish you," tripling financial penalties, Ravicher said. "If you say you didn't know and didn't see it, a court can't punish you. It's a screwed-up rule."

    Linux founder and leader Linus Torvalds has taken that approach. "Finding patent infringement has always been a responsibility of the patent holders," he said in a 2003 interview. "It is a fact that I do not encourage engineers to look up patent information."

    Red Hat, the top seller of Linux, offers reassurances not just about Linux but about higher-level open-source software the company offers. "We feel confident that our open-source solutions do not infringe on the valid intellectual-property rights of others," the company said earlier in July.

    Because of the effect that knowledge of potential infringement has, OSRM isn't releasing its list of patents.

    "If we were to publish the patents, we've now put everyone on notice of those patents. For those who have tried to avoid them, we've forced them to know of them, so we've screwed the community," Ravicher said. "If someone really wants to know, they can do the search themselves."
    Source : http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-5291403.html
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  2. #2
    albn
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    What about Microsoft?

  3. #3
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    You know what is really funny about this, considering that the SCO's suit fails, this company is going to make a shitload of money. Because if I remember correctly the biggest part of this Intellectual property suit is from the SCO's suit.


    It is going to be interesting to see this go through. Just htink about i, if the suit fails, this company will make about 150,000 for every customer they had. Let's say they had 10 they just made 1.5 million dollars off of just a scare. I have to say the people behind this one eare kind of smart.

  4. #4
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    I know that if this is true it could be an important matter, but instead of trying to kill the compition (In this case Linux) why not embrace it, and use it to their advantage. I'm not saying take their code, but use it as motivation, everyone should get along. I'd hardly say Microsoft was a monopoly. Why can't people stop trying to take down Linux. It is going to be a very impossible thing to do, considering it is a community effort, but individuals and companies, and unless you're going to kill everyone with any type of programming knowledge, burn all books that could help, and destroy any other information, they arn't going to stop something like Linux.

    As for the patents, blar, release the list if you want anything done. It's like SCO's non-disclosure agreement, people arn't going to think it's just a bunch of bullshit and go on their way.

    "If we were to publish the patents, we've now put everyone on notice of those patents. For those who have tried to avoid them, we've forced them to know of them, so we've screwed the community," Ravicher said. "If someone really wants to know, they can do the search themselves."
    That doesn't make much sense to me. They are saying that they won't publish the list incase someone has been intentionally avoiding seeing them, so they can put it in their software? Or what?

    microburn
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  5. #5
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
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    It is going to be a very impossible thing to do, considering it is a community effort,
    Until Redhat etc. start making money off it..... Then it's a business..... Thus it's competition, therefore it can and should be "dealt with".
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
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  6. #6
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    Dealing with RedHat is not dealing with Linux as a whole, if RedHat falls, there are alot more things waiting and willing to pick Linux back up.

    microburn
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  7. #7
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
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    ..... and someone else will try to make money off it.... Each time someone does they erode the benefit and the intent of open source.......
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  8. #8
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    That doesn't make much sense to me. They are saying that they won't publish the list incase someone has been intentionally avoiding seeing them, so they can put it in their software? Or what?
    MicroBurn, this is from an editorial I found today and might explain why they don't want to publish it. Wether all of it is true or not, I don't know.


    See, if you infringe on a patent and you didn't know about it, you would, if found guilty, get a fairly mild punishment. Ignorance of the law, in the US, is no excuse after all. But, if you know about the patent problems and still infringe, then you are automatically going to be up for three times the damages plus the cost of the plaintiff's legal fees if found guilty. So, OSRM is correct in not revealing the specific contents, because it could get a lot of people in a lot of trouble.
    http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php...6-029-26-OP-LL


    ..... and someone else will try to make money off it.... Each time someone does they erode the benefit and the intent of open source.......
    Tiger Shark, maybe , maybe not. It depends on how you look at the intent of open source. Freedom of choice, to choose to pay or not or use any products from said company. If a company is making money, and at the same time contributing to open source, would that not be beneficial to all?

  9. #9
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    ..... and someone else will try to make money off it.... Each time someone does they erode the benefit and the intent of open source.......
    I'm not talking about RedHat, I'm not talking about making money off it. There are many free distros out there, they are compition for Microsoft to, because they arn't making money off that user. I'm saying stopping Linux as a whole, would be a very near impossible task.

    quote:
    See, if you infringe on a patent and you didn't know about it, you would, if found guilty, get a fairly mild punishment. Ignorance of the law, in the US, is no excuse after all. But, if you know about the patent problems and still infringe, then you are automatically going to be up for three times the damages plus the cost of the plaintiff's legal fees if found guilty. So, OSRM is correct in not revealing the specific contents, because it could get a lot of people in a lot of trouble.
    So basicly, it is saying "If a user is to ignorant to look up a patent before developing software, then that's cool." but if it releases it, and people see this list, then they'll all be in trouble, because they found out they were doing something illigal, as opossed to not knowing they're doing something illigal. Why not apply this to all laws. "I didn't know typing this command in the Linux shell would DDoS that website".

    microburn
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