Fwd: Re: [fsl-discuss] Red Hat Patent Policy
Ian Lance Taylor
ian at airs.com
Wed Jun 5 19:21:31 CDT 2002
tom poe <tompoe at renonevada.net> writes:
> On Wednesday 05 June 2002 15:44, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> > Jeremy Simmons <jsimmons at media.is.tohoku.ac.jp> writes:
> > > > Is Red Hat's "Our Promise with Respect to Software Patents We Hold"
> > > > legally binding?
> > > >
> > > > http://www.redhat.com/legal/patent_policy.html
> > > >
> > > > Could it be revoked if there was a change in control of the company?
> > >
> > > Red Hat is taking out patents in order to build up a defensive position.
> > > I do not understand the need for this. If the information was just made
> > > public then future users would not be able to claim patents over that
> > > because it was pre-existing knowledge and would not be innovative.
> > It's defensive because it gives Red Hat some ammunition should they
> > face a patent lawsuit from some other software company. It gives them
> > a chance of offering a patent cross-licensing agreement or threatening
> > a counter-suit.
> > In today's software patent world, in which any software company is
> > guaranteed to be in violation of dozens of patents, it is crazy for
> > any software company to not obtain software patents. Software patents
> > are easy to get and, for a corporation, relatively cheap, and even a
> > weak shield against an infringement lawsuit is better than no shield
> > at all.
> Hi: I suppose that's good thinking in a proprietary world. Open Source,
> however, is not concerned with patents, copyrights, or keen business savvy in
> a proprietary world. Prior art, public domain, and ethics control in our
I'm not sure what you mean.
Do you mean that a company which is trying to make money from open
source, such as Red Hat, should not be concerned with patents,
copyrights or keen business savvy? If so, you are wrong.
Do you mean that a hobbyist who writes and uses open source software
should not be concerned with patents, copyrights, or keen business
savvy? If so, you may be right, although it's worth remembering that
software patents, by the nature of patents, affect everybody,
commercial or hobbyist, proprietary or free. The RSA patent, for just
one example, limited open source software just as it limited
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