IBM Claims Software Patents Promoted Open Source Software?
from the but-how? dept
The folks over at Slashdot point us to an interesting tidbit buried in IBM’s amicus brief for the Bilski case, where the company claims that software patents helped drive open source software development:
Patent protection has promoted the free sharing of source code on a patentee’s terms–which has fueled the explosive growth of open source software development.
The original report linked above conveniently drops the “on a patentee’s terms” which makes for a better story, but is a bit misleading. It’s that clause that explains what IBM means by this claim, though it shows absolutely no substantiation of the claim, whatsoever. And that’s because even with that clause added back in, it makes no sense. At all. Yes, software patents may make some developers more willing to share code with others… but that’s got nothing to do with open source development or the growth of open source software. The situations where a patent makes a developer more comfortable showing source code are clearly cases of proprietary software, where the developer/patent holder is worried about the software being copied. With open source software, there’s no such “worry” because that’s actually a feature of the system.
So why does IBM simply get to make stuff up in a filing for the Supreme Court?