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[News] GNU/Linux Fights Back Against Intellectual Monopolies

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Patent dispute: Red Hat launches an offensive

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| Red Hat is taking an unusual course of action in its defence against IP 
| Innovation's patent infringement claim. While similar lawsuits are usually 
| carried on quietly and often settled out of court, Red Hat has called on the 
| open source community to help find "prior art." The validity of a patent can 
| be disputed by proving that a patented technology was already in use before 
| the patent was filed (this is called "prior art").     


Nonstop Parties, Patent Trolls and Members Choice Awards

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| All partying aside, there were also conversations of a more serious kind in 
| the blogosphere over the last week or so, and particularly notable were two 
| on Slashdot regarding Linux and patent trolls.  
| For those who missed it, earlier this month the Open Invention Network, the 
| Software Freedom Law Center and The Linux Foundation launched the Linux 
| Defenders Network, a group that aims to help the community defend itself 
| against patent trolls.   
| An article on the launch in Network World was picked up on Slashdot, causing 
| some spirited discussion of the best way to tackle the patent problem. 



Defending Linux.

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| Back in 2007, IP Innovation filed a lawsuit against Red Hat and Novell. IP
| Innovation is a subsidiary of Acacia Technologies. You may have heard of them
| — they’re reported to be the most litigious patent troll in the USA, meaning
| they produce nothing of value other than money from those whom they sue (or
| threaten to sue) over patent issues. They’re alleging infringement of patents
| on a user interface that has multiple workspaces. Hard to say just what they
| mean (which is often a problem in software patents), but it sounds a lot like
| functionality that pretty much all programmers and consumers use.
| That patent was filed back on March 25, 1987 by some folks at Xerox/PARC,
| which means that prior art dated before that date is helpful — and art dated
| before March 25, 1986 is the most useful. (That means any examples from Linux
| aren’t really going to help, seeing as how Linus Torvalds first began the
| Linux kernel in 1991.


Microsoft, the follower

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| Microsoft earlier this week celebrated its 10,000th patent. Implicit in that
| announcement is the supposition that "patents = innovation." However, a quick
| look at Microsoft's last five years demonstrate a company that is struggling
| to copycat the best the industry has to offer, rather than innovate.
| [...]
| In this way it's much like the criticism it has of open source: Microsoft
| claims that open source steals others' intellectual property and doesn't
| innovate. Pot calling kettle black?


Microsoft Has A Problem: Software Patents Go Up In Smoke

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| So, companies like Microsoft would have a lot to rue about as a huge portion
| of their patent portfolio has become circumspect. This not only would rob
| them of revenues in terms of royalties but would also open up a lot of space
| for competition as well. Special thanks to Red Hat to take up the fight and
| providing crucial data to the court to take this decision. Stallman and FSF
| would be very happy today :)

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


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