Subject: Online patent exchanges
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 12:06:24 -0400 (EDT)

Craig Brozefsky writes:
> Any Free Software company that pursues software patents IMO, does not
> deserve the name.  It does not fit into the O.S. definition as I read
> it either.  This practice would also not fit with the GPL as I
> understand it.

I'm surprised nobody has yet mentioned the LPF patent cartel idea.  The
idea is that companies (presumably free software companies) give their
patents to a single licensing agency.  This licensing agency would
permit free use of the patents in free software, and also in
proprietary software by companies that did not initiate patent
infringement suits against companies in the cartel.

It is analogous to the GPL -- we'll suspend our intellectual-property
rights as long as you suspend yours.  The difference is that, while
copyright only affects people who choose to use something you produce,
patent is a license to raid people who never benefited from your work
at all.

Would this be prohibited by antitrust law?  The idea seems to have died
with the LPF.

-- 
<kragen@pobox.com>       Kragen Sitaker     <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
Tue Sep 14 1999
55 days until the Internet stock bubble bursts on Monday, 1999-11-08.
<URL:http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/bubble.html>