Wednesday, November 16, 2005

We all need to know about patents, Now we have a place to go

The way it is going, somebody is going to patent sneezing, it is already DOMAINated, and copy righted! So you are going to have to stop sneezing or cough up (no pun intended) some money to some Joe Gates somewhere.
I have been following this patent drama for a while and was happy to hear that ODSL (Open Source Development Labs) has came up with a reference library.
I think everyone, including people who patent your sneeze, have trouble figuring out all the new patent pledges and patent strategies. I do! And I am happy That ODSL started the patent commons reference Library. To protect Free and Open Source software and standards is progressing, and yourself!! We all should know all the terms and conditions. Patents applicability, Or simply a place to learn how complex the sloppy US patent procedures are.

A simple guide if you visit the site;
Contains information about the people and companies that have made Commitments about software patents they hold. This database may be searched by Contributor name.

This database is comprised of promises, pledges, covenants and other legal undertakings made by Contributors. Commitments may be searched by title, content, type, or Contributor. Learn more about Commitments here.

A collection of patent abstracts and links to the patents identified in some of the Commitments. The Patents database may searched by patent title, abstract, type of patent, patent number, or assignee.

Standards & Technology
Summaries and links to the Standards & Technology in support of which some Commitments are made. This database may be searched by content, developing organization, type of Standard & Technology, or Contributor.
Other Legal Solutions
Information about indemnification programs, litigation support funds, open source software licenses and other legal solutions that reduce the threat and potential impact of patent litigation. This database can be searched by Contributor or solution type.

All are welcome here, Companies, universities, nonprofits, and individuals can all contribute to The Commons through Commitments covering software patents.

Contact info is here, and the Press release below;

OSDL Launches Online Patent Commons Reference Library

For More Information:

Jennifer Cloer for OSDL
Page One PR
Phone: +1 503.547.9451
E-mail :
OSDL hosts online patent commons library supported by industry leaders including CA, IBM, Intel, Novell, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems to help protect open source software innovation

BEAVERTON, Ore., - November 15, 2005 - The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux®, today announced the launch of its online patent commons reference library, the foundation of its Patent Commons Project. The Project’s goal is to provide greater confidence for developers and customers of all open source software.

The site, , hosts searchable databases containing more than 500 patents pledged to date and more than a dozen technical standards supported by patent pledges and covenants. The library is freely available to developers, users and vendors, where they can quickly view information about patents and technology pledges benefiting open source software and standards.

''The OSDL Patent Commons Project is an important first step in helping customers, vendors and the development community understand the different commitments that have been made and how they work to reduce the chances of patent litigation,'' said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. ''The Project is focused on documenting the growing number of pledges and other legal solutions directed at the software patent issue, so that developers can innovate and collaborate as free as possible from litigation.''

The Patent Commons website will catalogue existing patent commitments from companies and individuals who wish to retain ownership of their patents, and will provide information about different types of pledges and covenants and how they work. In the coming months, the site will expand to include other legal solutions that benefit the open source community, including open source licenses, indemnification programs and information for organizations and individuals who wish to contribute to the commons.

The OSDL Patent Commons Project has already rallied the support of many industry leaders, including CA, IBM, Intel Novell, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems. The Lab welcomes other IT vendors, corporations, organizations, government agencies and individuals to participate.

''CA is committed to fostering innovation in the Open Source community so that users can reap all the potential personal, social and business benefits that technology can offer,'' said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president of technology at CA. ''We are supporting and participating in the Patents Common because we believe it will enable developers to fully and appropriately leverage each otherÂ’s innovations, while respecting partiesÂ’ intellectual property rights.''

''OSDL provides a natural point of entry to the Commons. We are confident that the Project will serve the needs of developers and customers by providing fair, objective and easily accessible information about the burgeoning Commons,'' said Jim Stallings, vice president, Intellectual Property & Standards, IBM.

''As a founding member of OSDL, Intel is committed to helping customers make informed decisions around their choices in computing platforms,'' said Richard Wirt, Vice President, Senior Fellow, and General Manager, Software and Solutions Group of Intel. ''OSDL is in a unique position to provide a trusted clearinghouse where enterprise customers and developers can find vendor-neutral information about open source software and intellectual property that can help them ensure that their decisions are based on the most complete and up-to-date information.''

''Customers want freedom of choice in making decisions about technology solutions,'' said David Patrick, vice president and general manager for Linux, Open Sources Platforms and Services at Novell. ''They should be able to make their purchase decisions based on technical merits, security, quality of service and value, not concerns over intellectual property ownership. The OSDL Patent Commons project will provide greater confidence to developers and customers that the open source solutions they are deploying are safe from patent challenges.''

''We are happy to see OSDL's Patent Commons online reference library go live,'' said Mark Webbink, Sr. Vice President, Red Hat. ''As the first open source vendor to make its patents available to the open source community, Red Hat views steps such as the one OSDL has taken with the Commons and Red Hat's creation of the Fedora Foundation as providing developers, vendors and end users with the ability to be confident and bold in their development efforts.''

''Sun applauds the work of the OSDL Patent Commons project and its library of patent pledges and non-assertion covenants,'' said Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer, Sun Microsystems, Inc. ''As the largest commercial code contributor to the various open source communities, Sun is well aware of the many obstacles these communities face due to the uncertainties that surround today's software patents, which neither patent pools nor targeted pledges really solve. This project offers a concrete and important step in the right direction, as it will help all open source communities.''

About the OSDL Patent Commons Project

With increasing frequency, institutions, companies, and inventors wish to signal formally to the open source software industry and community that software patents they hold are not a threat to the development, distribution or use of open source software or open standards. Patent pledges and covenants – legally enforceable promises not to enforce patents under certain terms and conditions – eliminate the need for individual agreements and simplify the process by which access to patented technology can be granted. The Patent Commons Project catalogues the patent pledges and covenants in a central location and facilitates their use by the development community and others, reduces the number of issued software patents that are a threat to open source and open standards, and documents the boundaries of the ''common area.''
About the Open Source Development Lab

OSDL - home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux - is dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux. Founded in 2000 by CA, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel and NEC, OSDL is a non-profit organization at the center of Linux supported by a global consortium of more than 60 of the worldÂ’s largest Linux customers and IT industry leaders. OSDL sponsors industry-wide initiatives around Linux in telecommunications, in the enterprise data center and on corporate desktops. The Lab also provides Linux expertise and computing and test facilities in the United States and Japan available to developers around the world. Visit OSDL on the Web at

OSDL is a registered trademark of Open Source Development Labs, Inc. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Third party marks and brands are the property of their respective holders.


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