[clug] FOSS patent infringements

Chris Smart chris at kororaa.org
Wed May 16 00:40:00 GMT 2007

Hash: SHA1

"Open-source programs step on 235 Microsoft patents, the company said.
Free Linux software violates 42 patents. Graphical user interfaces, the
way menus and windows look on the screen, breach 65. E-mail programs
step on 15, and other programs touch 68 other patents, the company said.
The patent figures were first reported by Fortune magazine.

Microsoft also said Open Office, an open-source program supported in
part by Sun Microsystems Inc., infringes on 45 patents."


Though of course they haven't yet released detailed information about
the patents but as the article says, "it's not in Microsoft's interest
to do so: Open-source programmers could rewrite their code to avoid
infringing on specific patents, or the courts could find that
Microsoft's patent isn't valid.

If Microsoft were to start suing, it could also kick off a patent war on
a grand scale. An organization called the Open Innovation Network,
funded by IBM Corp., Red Hat Inc. and others, has amassed a vast number
of software patents. In the event of a Microsoft lawsuit against open
source companies or customers, the OIN would retaliate in kind."

Now that could get interesting :)

- -c
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