Re: GPL'ed Patent Pool

On Wed, Sep 15, 2004 at 01:26:45AM +0200, Philip Van Hoof was heard to remark:
> On Fri, 2004-09-10 at 15:40 -0500, Linas Vepstas wrote:
> > Over the years, there has been lots and lots of talk about
> > patents and about how they might impact free software/
> > open source, but there really hasn't been much done about it.
> > So here's a proposal, a 'lets do something about it' thing.
> > I think there's a way to defend against a patent attack.
> Wouldn't the creation of a website like WikiPriorArt.Org help tackle
> most of the problems created by software patents?

That's a good idea, and probably should be done anyway; but it
has a number of big drawbacks:

-- Its a lot of work to correctly document prior art, esp in a way
   that a court would find acceptable.

-- Even if such a site existed, its still very hard to attack/defend
   with it.  A patent, just one patent, has dozens of claims, each of 
   which are worded in hard-to-understand legalese.  Each claim
   has to be overturned to rule a patent invalid.  Its a massive 
   effort to attack just one patent.  And there are dozens (or more??) 
   of new software patents issued daily.  The task is hurculean.

By contrast, if we could get patent holders to sign up for a blanket 
license that was stronger and more direct than the current defacto 
'promissory estoppel', that would be a lot of gain for not much pain.


pub  1024D/01045933 2001-02-01 Linas Vepstas (Labas!) <linas linas org>
PGP Key fingerprint = 8305 2521 6000 0B5E 8984  3F54 64A9 9A82 0104 5933

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