Monday, May 10, 2004

Patent holders and Linux on collision course

Monday, May 10, 2004 Washington (featureXpress) -- Open source and patents will collide in the courts predicts a new white paper released by the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution, or AdTI, a non-partisan research foundation in Washington, D.C.
The author, Kenneth Brown, president of AdTI, comments, "the open source community wants to develop software freely, irrespective of patents and patent-holders. Consequently, this will lead to an imminent fall-out between big business, patent-holders, and the Linux community."

It is not uncommon today for patent fights to erupt even between parties that have engaged in rigorous diligence. By contrast, open source developers and distributors do not engage in patent searches, thus, there is a real possibility we will see a major patent fight involving open source, sooner than later."

Brown argues that the actions of IBM, a Linux developer, and one of the largest patent holders in the world, will also impact the relationship between open source and patents. Brown writes, "IBM's approach will be interesting for two reasons. 1. Soon, IBM will be competing with large Linux-based developers and distributors themselves. As the deployment of Linux increases, it can be expected that IBM will be going head-to-head with its partners in the Linux community for new accounts. It is unquestionable that the biggest irony of all will be when Big Blue resorts to using its war chest of patents against fellow Linux advocates. 2. The open source community is actively lobbying governments here and abroad to end software patents. These efforts are not in IBM's interest, thus, we will soon observe even more conflict between IBM and the open source community over this issue as well."

The white paper is available online at
For further information, contact:
Gregory Fossedal

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