No announcement yet.

Linux group asks Supreme Court to nix all software patents

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Linux group asks Supreme Court to nix all software patents

    Last week an advocacy group that champions the use of free and open source software, including the Linux operating system, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate all software patents.

    The request was made by the Software Freedom Law Center in an amicus brief submitted in the case known as Microsoft v. AT&T, which is scheduled for argument Feb. 21. It is unlikely that the Court would take the advocacy group up on its invitation, if for no other reason than the Court has only asked the parties to brief narrower questions presented by the case, which focuses on the degree to which a U.S. software patent can be enforced abroad. Still, the center, which aims to provide legal peace of mind to developers and users of open-source software, is putting the lightening-rod issue on the Court's radar screen and hoping the Court will craft its ruling in a way that tees up the broader issue for future resolution.
    Michael Larabel

  • #2
    I think this would be a great thing, but I know it could never happen... at least not any time soon. I work for an IT company who puts a strong emphasis on patents as a way to move up the internal corporate ladder. Creating patents for the company is not a requirement for employees in order to get a raise (for instance), but it is looked at very favorably in the internal certification process (which does mean a raise among other things). Even if you know the company you work for would never use their patents against the open source community or Linux (for the most part it's opposite in the case of my company), the idea of patenting an idea seems odd. The patent doesn't even have to be on an actual implementation; it can be on a paper that describes some idea. This means that you have patents on ideas that most likely have not been thought all the way through, nor have they been tested against the alternatives that may very well have already been developed into an actual solution which you can purchase and use today. To me, patents feel very much like buying up domain names knowing that someone will want them in the future, or buying all the best tickets to some show for the sole purpose of scalping. Not all patents are like this, but many are. I think more rules are needed on the patenting process.