Linux Patent Suit: Don't Miss the Forest for the Trees

Lora Bentley

Not surprisingly, the tech press is all over the patent infringement suit that IP Innovation filed last week against Red Hat and Novell.'s Matt Asay is among the conspiracy theorists. The 451 Group's Matthew Aslett implies an analogy to "War of the Worlds" with the opening words of his post on the subject. Here at IT Business Edge, editor in chief Kachina Dunn and analyst Rob Enderle each added their two cents' worth to go along with my previous post.)


ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn, however, says the real issues are lost in all the fuss about the case. We won't have a solution to the software patent problem, he says, until three primary questions are answered:

These basic questions need to be asked, and answered, before a rational software patent regime could ever emerge:


* Can patents protect an idea, or just the way that idea is implemented? * How can patent law enable innovation for systems that do hundreds of things at once? * Why can't software just enjoy the protection of copyright, which protects the code itself and lasts for 100 years?


None of these questions is being asked, let alone answered, either through the law or the fight over the law. It is past time for the entire tech industry to demand they be answered, for all time...

Makes sense to me. And I also think the Linux Foundation is right on the money when it says:

This case will aid those of us who are advocating the cause of patent reform by demonstrating the wasteful drain that the current process imposes on innovative activities.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Oct 16, 2007 2:50 AM Freedisk Freedisk  says:
This is just proof that software patents are a mistake and should be removed from the patent system. They stopped doing what they were supposed to be doing: to stimulate innovation.The open source community has been able to be innovative without the need for any patents. That's enough proof for me we don't need them. Reply
Oct 16, 2007 10:31 AM Chris Clark Chris Clark  says:
The issue that is also not covered is that whater the outcome is, (I am fairly confident of a failed case here), whilst the US looks on and there's a possible chill, the rest of the world will carry on at an ever accelerating rate and bypass US developers. Patents will fast hit the economy as well as the rate of innovation. Reply

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