Patents and OpenMoko
vasco.nevoa at iol.pt
Tue Feb 12 12:48:27 CET 2008
Hi. Sorry to barge in like this, but I don't quite understand the problem to begin with...
Isn't open source code by definition protected against subsequent patents?
It is part of the patenting process to search for conflicting publications; if they find any, then the candidate idea is not a novelty and cannot be patented. Publishing is the best weapon against (subsequent) patents: cheap and effective.
I think we should just add some way to automatically timestamp every code check-in in a legally binding way, like using some outside certification entity's digital signature (that carries a legally recognizable timestamp).
An open-source public repository is a valid publication of ideas, which are therefore not patentable.
What do you think?
----- Mensagem Original -----
De: Sean Moss-Pultz <sean at openmoko.com>
Data: Terça-Feira, 12 de Fevereiro de 2008, 4:25
Assunto: Re: Patents and OpenMoko
> Thanks a lot for such an indepth reply. I need to think about a
> lot of
> these points. Let me just comment on a few now...
> On 2/11/08 Nils Faerber wrote:
> > > Are there any existing options available to us now? Does
> > know of
> > > > existing companies or organizations with a similar strategy
> > we can
> > > > seek guidance or partnership.
> > > >
> > > > Again, I want to emphasize that we only want our patents to
> > used in
> > > > defense. And what constitutes defense is something that we
> > to be
> > > > able to define (and potentially even redefine when new
> > arise).
> > This is a noble aim but very very difficult to reach.
> Perhaps. But I think we should try our best...
> > Speaking as a free software acitvist especially software patents
> are a
> > complete no-go.
> > Speaking as community guy I would say that with the software
> > you
> > would have to sign and publish a non-revocable community
> contract that
> > sais quite explicitely for which use you would accept royaltee
> > use
> > and of which patents. Only then the community would be safe.
> Else, at
> > some later point in time, someone at OpenMoko/FIC might change their
> > mind and try to make money from the patents.
> I think there is a way to get around this legal. We're getting
> advice from the SFLC later this week. I'll keep everyone posted as
> our plans.
> > > > Thanks in advance for the help.
> > My very quick advice: Don't get your hands dirty with patents,
> > especially with software.
> > You will loose a lot of credibility in the free software world
> and the
> > benefit is questionable.
> With all due respect, I must disagree here. Not filing for
> patents, is
> hardly an option for a global company in this day and age. The
> larger we
> get, the more of target we become.
> I'm confident we can reach a solution that will be helpful for
> both our
> business and the community. I will keep you all posted as to our
> OpenMoko community mailing list
> community at lists.openmoko.org
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