Will Patents Pillage Open Source?

from the probably-not dept

Lawyer Steven Frank is examining the SCO Unix patent battle with IBM over Linux at News.com. He discusses the fear, from some people, that companies will come in and patent processes that are core to open source technologies, and then try to bring legal action against everyone using those products. This seems like a pretty unlikely scenario, despite SCO’s move (which is mostly seen as a last ditch effort to get IBM to buy them). First off, if the technology is already being use in open source applications, then there’s plenty of prior art to invalidate the patent. Second, going after a wide community of open source users for patent infringement is sure to make you lose a lot of credibility with anyone who might consider buying your products. Besides, the open source commuity, if pushed, is likely to come up with a workaround that is non-infringing anyway.

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