The Supreme Court case of Bilski v Kappos was billed as a case over business methods, but at its core it was over an application for a patent on software, and the denial of that application sets a good example that may lead to the denial of other software patents.
I had the opportunity to participate as a speaker in the first Open Your World forum. My presentation, "Open Source License Compliance", was an adaptation of a talk I've previously given to lawyers with varying levels of experience in the legal issues surrounding open source software. It is... Read more
The Supreme Court finally issued a decision in the Bilski case today [PDF]. For those troubled by the problems surrounding software patents, the opinion will be disappointing, because it does not resolve those problems. But it would be a mistake to view the opinion as a victory for the proponents... Read more
I had the opportunity to sit down with Larry Lessig last week. Co-founder of Creative Commons, law professor, author, and copyright guru, Lessig is a visionary of law and technology policy. In the FLOSS community, Lessig is best known for his book Free Culture and work on copyright policy. In his... Read more
On 16 June Project Harmony had its first official meeting in Boston, and we're planning another in London on 1st July at Canonical's offices. Its initial goal is to avoid proliferation in contribution agreements across FOSS software projects where those organisations chose to work with... Read more
When I said recently that we still need the Open Source Initiative (OSI), it started a flood of comment. There's no doubt that we need OSI - but we need a better OSI. The one we have now is just too small to be effective and too mired in past successes; a renaissance is needed. You can help.
A little over a month ago, the Fedora Project announced a plan to replace the existing Fedora Individual Contributor License Agreement (FICLA) with something new, which we've imaginatively titled the Fedora Project Contributor Agreement (FPCA). After gathering some feedback on the first draft from... Read more
One of the most important aspects of the recent trial victory for Red Hat and Novell was a finding that the asserted patent claims were invalid. This meant that the jury was persuaded by clear and convincing evidence that the patents were improperly granted. Getting to this decision involved... Read more
Red Hat and Novell stood up to a patent bully and got a favorable jury verdict in the IPI trial which invalidated some software patents that should never have been issued. It's hard to see how that's not a good thing for open source. It's also good that the particular battle has inspired discussion... Read more
The jury verdict last Friday in favor of Red Hat and Novell in a case based on bad software patents owned by "non-practicing entities" is an important victory for the open source community. Those in the business of acquiring bad software patents to coerce payments or bring lawsuits should be... Read more