When the Supreme Court decided the Bilski case, it didn't speak directly to the issue of software patents. But the Bilski majority emphasized that abstract ideas are not patentable, and recognized that allowing patents for abstract ideas could hinder innovation. Thus there's still room for... Read more
A collaborative activity dubbed Project Harmony is now under way between corporate and corporate-sponsored participants in the free and open source software communities (not to be confused with the Apache Java project of the same name). The project seeks to harmonise the various participant and... Read more
Can–or should–a programming language name be a trademark? The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the administrative board within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that adjudicates whether trademarks can be registered, recently decided that the word “Lua” was not a generic name for a programming... Read more
I think I was as surprised as anyone when I heard that Larry Lessig was stepping away from Creative Commons. It seemed like a sudden change of direction, because Lessig has been a vocal advocate for freedom and choice for so many years. But as I hear Lessig describe his journey from Creative... Read more
Eben Moglen's keynote address at LinuxCon last week, "Doing What it Takes: Current Legal Issues in Defending FOSS," called for a strategic shift in the free software movement. Moglen, the founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) and one of the principal drafters of the GPLv3,... Read more
Maybe you’ve heard of Lawrence Lessig. Maybe as Larry Lessig. Then again, maybe you haven’t. But perhaps you’ve heard of free culture as a movement or Creative Commons or DRM, or copyright law. How about freedom?
For all the debate and litigation around software patents, I thought that there was at least one point on which all sides could agree: the objective of the U.S. patent system is to stimulate innovation. A recent IP blog takes issue with that premise, and proposes an alternative objective:... Read more
By Harvey Anderson Trademarks used for open source projects–like for the Mozilla Firefox browser–will often be misused. It can take the form of a website selling open source software that is normally distributed for free, using the trademark to promote other products and services, or using modified... Read more
While the decision by the US Library of Congress to create exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for unlocking cellphones and jailbreaking iPhones (among other things) in the USA are very welcome, the reaction has been just a touch too euphoric. Not by everyone, mind you.
Recently the NZ govt announced that it was to remove software from the list of items that can be patented. This decision came after hectic lobbying from the open source community on one side and the proprietary vendors on the other side.