Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Linux, Open Source Get Patent Protection Program

The sponsors hope the program will ultimately promote their goals of greater freedom in the open source community to expand the Linux platform.

Open Invention Network (OIN) unveiled a program Tuesday that aims to make it easier for patent and trademark office examiners -- and others -- to access prior art, increase the quality of patents granted, and decrease the number of poor quality patents.

The Linux Defenders program, sponsored by the Software Freedom Law Center and the Linux Foundation, is designed to address intellectual property concerns about meritless patents for the Linux and open source community. The program solicits prior art to help invalidate and reject poor quality patent applications and patents, while encouraging high quality inventions and defensive applications.

"Linux Defenders offers the Linux and broader open source community a unique opportunity to harness its collaborative passion, intelligence, and ingenuity to ensure Linux's natural migration to mobile devices and computing," Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN, said in a statement released Tuesday. "This landmark program will benefit open source innovation by significantly reducing the number of poor quality patents that might otherwise be used by patent trolls or strategists whose behaviors and business models are antithetical to true innovation and are thus threatened by Linux."

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