Technology companies ask Supreme Court to reject vague patents

will invalidating patents get easier?

You’ve probably realized this by now, but the Supreme Court is having a very busy term when it comes to patent cases. In Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.—scheduled for oral argument on April 28—the Court will consider whether to hold vague patents to a more exacting standard. » Read more

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Free Software Foundation to offer seminar on GPL enforcement and legal ethics

free software legal seminar

The Free Software Foundation will be providing a half-day legal seminar titled "GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics", taking place on Monday, March 24 at Suffolk University Law School in Boston. Anyone can register to attend the seminar, though it is aimed particularly at practicing lawyers and law students. For practicing lawyers in the US, continuing legal education (CLE) credits are expected to be available for many states. » Read more

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The Supreme Court jumps into the software patent thicket

peering into the patent haze

Software patent thickets are often compared to minefields, but with a note of resignation, as though there’s no avoiding them. The U.S. Supreme Court now has before it a case that could go a long way towards addressing the litigation risks and business uncertainties created by software patents. The case is Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, and the issue is whether claims to computer-implemented inventions are eligible for patents. » Read more

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Top 10 legal issues for free software of 2013

free software legal issues

The year 2013 continued the trend of the increasing importance of legal issues for the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community. FOSS projects have  increased from 900,000 in 2012 to 1,000,000 in 2013, according to Black Duck Software.

Last year, I provided a look at the top legal issues from the year before. Continuing with this tradition, here is my take on the top ten legal developments in FOSS during 2013. » Read more

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US Supreme Court to hear important patent cases in 2014

public policy

A recent post on the top events ahead in 2014 for reforming abusive patent litigation focused on efforts by State Attorneys General, the Federal Trade Commission, and US Congress. Let’s now take a look to another field involved in the multi-prong strategy to address patent abuse: the Supreme Court, which is considering a number of important cases. » Read more

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Copyright statements proliferate inside open source code

Copyright statements emerging in source code

I was looking at a source file for the OpenStack Ceilometer docs one day and noticed that there's a copyright statement at the top. Now, in no way do I want to pick on Nicholas. There are hundreds of such copyright statements in the OpenStack docs and code, and this is just the example I happened to be looking at.

(Note that my employer has its share of copyright statements in the OpenStack code. Pretty much every company participating in OpenStack does this. I think we need to stop.)

» Read more

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Should I use a permissive license? Copyleft? Or something in the middle?

copyleft

The open source license you choose for your project, or for the projects you choose to contribute to, can have significant effects on how what you contribute is used. One question that has garnered quite a bit of interest recently is the fall in popularity of copyleft licenses in favor of permissive licenses. An article last year looked at the issue of large number of projects on GitHub that have no explicit license and posited the question about whether we live in a 'post open source software' world, where seemingly open source software has no license. After some time, GitHub agreed that licensing is important and worked to improve the situation with a license chooser. » Read more

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Top events ahead in 2014 for abusive patent litigation

reform of abusive patent litigation

It’s a new year and all indications are that it will be a busy one for reform of abusive patent litigation.

What are some of the top events ahead in 2014? » Read more

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Year-in-Review: Law hot topics on Opensource.com

Top 10 open law posts in 2013

The most-read posts this year on the Opensource.com Law channel showed a strong interest in diverse legal issues in the open source world. Many readers were reaching out for a better understanding open source licensing and related questions, such as: » Read more

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Law professors weigh in against abusive patent litigation by PAEs

8 bit patents

With patent reform legislation moving forward, an impressive group of law professors weighed in last week in favor of reform. The group submitted a letter to Congress that effectively demonstrates the seriousness of the problem of patent assertion entities (PAEs) and supports pending legislation.

This issue is timely, because the Innovation Act (HR 3309) was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on November 20 with a strong majority (33-5) in favor. There is a good chance that the full House will take up the bill this week. » Read more

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