Open Source Summit Review

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| The resounding message of the Olswang’s and Greenberg Traurig’s Friday Open
| Source Summit was that software patents are bad for business. Bruce Perens’s
| message against software patents and that the European Patent Litigation
| Agreement (EPLA) should not become a reality was echoed throughout the day by
| numerous speakers to be restated once again during Simon Phipps closing
| keynote. The main argument was that these patents hinder software development
| because of their high transaction costs, and that Europe can maintain
| advantages by not allowing these patents (available in the US and elsewhere)
| on its shores.


Critic of Software Patents Wins Nobel Prize in Economics

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| doom writes "You've probably already heard that the Nobel Prize
| for Economics was given to three gents who were working on advances
| in mechanism design theory. What you may not have heard is what one
| of those recipients was using that theory to study: 'One recent
| subject of Professor Maskin's wide-ranging research has been on the
| value of software patents. He determined that software was a market
| where innovations tended to be sequential, in that they were built
| closely on the work of predecessors, and innovators could take many
| different paths to the same goal. In such markets, he said, patents
| might serve as a wall that inhibited innovation rather than
| stimulating progress.' Here's one of Maskin's papers on the
| subject: Sequential Innovation, Patents, limitation (pdf).

Mark Webbink On: Software Patents

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| This week Mark Webbink, former Red Hat General Counsel discusses software
| patents, their absurdity and the business climate and “judicial activism”
| that helped create them. *


A Patent Lie

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| Microsoft sang a very different tune in 1991. In a memo to his
| senior executives, Bill Gates wrote, "If people had understood how
| patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented,
| and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete
| standstill today." Mr. Gates worried that "some large company will
| patent some obvious thing" and use the patent to "take as much of
| our profits as they want."

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| ...Thanks to Mr. Gates, we now know that an open Internet with protocols
| anyone can implement is communism...
| ...Mr. Gates' secret is out now--he too was a "communist;" he, too,
| recognized that software patents were harmful-until Microsoft
| became one of these giants...

Big businesses boast of patent benefits, for small businesses

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| A report published by an EU task force on intellectual property claims
| that small businesses benefit from a patent system, despite lacking
| almost any participation by the small business community.
| Instead, the report, titled IPR (intellectual property rights) for
| competitiveness and innovation, was written up almost entirely by
| large corporations and the patent industry.
| [...]
| The report does note objections from the likes of and
| Sun Microsystems, which were recorded at some length in the report.
| But this does not appear to have impacted the conclusion of the
| report in any way
| [...]
| Jean-Pierre Laisne, of ObjectWeb, an open source software community,
| said that he found the report useless: participants were told that
| all their contributions would be recorded but at the end only
| those of Business Software Alliance and Microsoft were used.

Telling the Truth About Software Patents and Innovation

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| Would abolishing software patents, then, lessen innovation among large
| companies? Again, no. IBM, Microsoft and Oracle were founded before software
| could be patented. They couldn't afford to quit innovating simply because
| patent protection became unavailable. * *

Playing Microsoft Patent Poker

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| This time though, while Ballmer slinks away to try to con … convince people
| that Microsoft Unified Communications somehow offers people more than what
| Cisco's VOIP (voice over IP) been offering customers for years, a patent
| attack finally launches at Linux. Specifically, IP Innovation, a subsidiary
| of Acacia Technologies Group, has filed a patent infringement claim against
| Linux distributors Novell and Red Hat.
| So was it just timing, or was it something more? Let's take a look at the
| players.

Is Acacia link with Microsoft just smoke?

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| Is all this smoke just coincidence? It may well be. But the smoke gets
| thicker by the day.

Prior Art - What's a Claim Limitation?

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| It's a 2005 case, so a lot has happened in the meantime. Oh, and if you are
| looking for prior art, the patent to look at first would be the oldest one of
| the ones IP Innovation has claimed in the Red Hat litigation. That is the one
| that I think needs to be knocked out either by prior art or by obviousness.

Patent Sanity

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| For years, many in the software industry have expressed concern over software
| and business method patents and the patent system.