Patent reform and patent totalitarianism

Patent reform and patent totalitarianism

Touted as the most extensive revision of the patent law since 1952, the America Invents Act of 2011 was signed by the President on September 16. You might think in light of the celebration and rhetoric, that the Act was tackling the big problems such as patent trolls, broad and abstract patents, the billions squandered in the smartphone wars, or opportunistic litigation against users. You might think that. But you would be wrong. » Read more

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Creative Commons 4.0 on the horizon

Creative Commons 4.0 on the horizon
Creative Commons held its Global Summit a few weeks ago in Warsaw, with amazing international participation. Without question, the most-discussed topic was the upcoming 4.0 release of the licenses, including related issues and a lively debate regarding whether the licenses should be ported to specific countries – or whether we should instead try to create a new international license.  
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If we're going to have software patents, let's at least have a level playing field

If we must have software patents, at least use the same rules

Last week, I participated in a panel discussion at the Eastern District of Texas/Federal Circuit Joint Bench-Bar Conference in Dallas.  The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the specialized appellate court for patent cases.  My panel was on corporate counsel opinions of patent litigation and recent judicial and legislative patent reform.  The discussion was moderated by Judge Richard Linn of the Federal Circuit.  It was a great opportunity to present some views of the patent system, and to provide options for improvement to the very people who can enact judicial change. » Read more

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The huge societal costs of NPE software patent lawsuits

Ginormous losses from NPE software patent lawsuits

Innovative software companies start each work day knowing that, no matter how careful and how ethical they are, they face a meaningful risk of being sued for patent infringement. It's like a tooth ache – painful and distracting, even when not debilitating. A major source of this pain is non-practicing entities (NPEs), which are expert at acquiring and exploiting weak software patents. While this is not hot news to the open source community, the enormous financial harm caused by NPEs is just starting to be understood. » Read more

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Poll: Is the very concept of intellectual property outmoded?

Is the very concept of intellectual property outmoded?

Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Talk like a digital pirate--or fight against them--on Talk Like A Pirate Day

To celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day the opensource.com way, we gathered a list of things that have been said through the history of copyright, copying, remixing, and the sort of piracy that doesn't involve tricorn hats or cutlasses.


"Music and gymnastic (must) be preserved in their original form, and no innovation made. They must do their utmost to maintain them intact. [...]

     for any musical innovation is full of danger in the whole State,
     and ought to be prohibited. » Read more

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New patent reform law could reduce lawsuits by non-practicing entities

New patent reform law could reduce lawsuits by non-practicing entity

The Hidden Gem in the Bill:  Joinder Reform

So it has finally happened: a patent reform bill has actually become law. Last Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted 89-9 to send H.R. 1249 to the White House, where it was signed into law today.  While I have pointed out in the past that this bill misses out on several aspects of reform that previous bills attempted, it does include some useful aspects.

First, though, let’s discuss what the new law will NOT include. » Read more

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Why make a new open source software license? MPL 2.0 (part 3)

Why make a new open source software license?  MPL 2.0 (part 3)

In my previous posts, I discussed the new features of the MPL and the new compatibility between MPL and other licenses. In this final post, I'll summarize a few other small details about the new MPL that may be of interest to opensource.com readers. » Read more

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MPL 2.0, copyleft, and license compatibility

MPL 2.0, copyleft, and license compatibility

In part one of my Mozilla Public License piece, I mentioned license compatibility as a major feature of MPL 2.0. In fact, it's such a major - and complicated - issue that it warrants its own explanation. » Read more

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Should setting information free get you locked up? Aaron Swartz, JSTOR, and the theft of information

Aaron Swartz is 25 years old. He’s smart, tenacious, talented. And, in the view of the US Attorney General, a dangerous man currently charged with wire and computer fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer, and criminal forfeiture. He was released pending a September trial on a $100,000 bond.

His crime? Downloading more than four million documents from the JSTOR digital library. » Read more

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