Patents as WMD

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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Patents as WMD

Yes it's true, since we couldn't find any real WMDs in Iraq, the BBC suggests we look for patents instead. Just kidding. A story titled Open source leaders slam patents discusses how Linux founder Linus Torvalds said software patents were a problem for the open source movement.

There was a Linux summit this week in California (my invitation must have been lost in the mail) where a number of high-powered people in software development complained about Microsoft using intilectual property as weapons.

You usually don' get people in the patent office to agree that too many patents have been handed out but the BBC did get such a quote. Granted it was fromt the UK patent office but I am sure the same holds true for the US market.

"Some of the patents have dubious validity and are being wielded by some big companies to force smaller companies to buy licenses in the knowledge that they can't afford to take them to court," said Dr Jeremy Philpott of the UK Patent Office.

What happens to Asterisk in this mess? If Microsoft comes after Linux, will all Linux applications be at risk. It is too early to tell but there could be some serious legal issues for many companies to deal with if open source keeps growing at this amazing pace. At some point, Microsoft will be forced to do something to increase its lost sales.

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