USPTO to hold Open Source Software Community Meeting February 16, 2006

USPTO to hold Open Source Software Community Meeting February 16, 2006

The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has created a partnership with the open source community to ensure that patent examiners have improved access to all available prior art relating to software code during the patent examination process.

Link to more information.

Lloyds offers relief for Linux-patent concerns

Lloyds offers relief for Linux-patent concerns
Offer might attract firms fearing legal action

Roger Howorth, IT Week 18 Aug 2005

Lloyd's of London is to offer insurance to protect firms if patent actions arise from their use of Linux and open-source software.

The offer may attract firms that would not be able to afford the costs of a legal action for patent infringement. Experts estimate that the cost of defending a typical patent case in the US is $3m.

The policy from Lloyd's will be offered in conjunction with software insurance specialist Open Source Risk Management (OSRM), which already offers similar policies and says it will charge firms $60 (£35) per server.

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Open-source allies go on patent offensive

Open-source allies go on patent offensive
By Stephen Shankland, CNET
Published on ZDNet News: August 11, 2005, 4:00 AM PT

SAN FRANCISCO--Two Linux allies are taking a leaf out of their opponents' book as they try to prevent software patents from putting a crimp in open source.

Red Hat will finance outside programmers' efforts to obtain patents that may be used freely by open-source developers, the top Linux seller said Tuesday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo here. At the same time, the Open Source Developer Labs launched a patent commons project, which will provide a central list of patents that have been donated to the collaborative programming community.

The threat of patent-infringement lawsuits has long dogged collaborative development, leading some open-source programming advocates to turn against the patent system altogether. The initiatives signal a new willingness on the part of the open-source community to combat the threat of patent-infringement lawsuits more directly--and within the existing patent system.

"We're watching a groundswell of alternative ideas coming forward to try to counteract some of the patent terrorism that's coming up in industry," Steve Mills, general manager of IBM's software group, said in an interview.

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Governments in Asia Moving to Open Source

By Ong Boon Kiat, CNETAsia
May 19, 2005

Forget hard figures, the return of investment calculations and the list of new application features. These factors count for little as organizations deciding whether a move to a new IT platform is viable seek a different comfort level. This new level of comfort requires sufficient evidence of successful adoption by others in the industry. It also requires that the move be seen to inspire confidence among partners and customers.

In Asia, one can now argue that both prerequisites have been met when it comes to moving to an open-source platform. It may be hard to state a defining moment when that happened, since comfort is an intangible measure, but it is not hard to sense the optimism that now resonates on the ground with open-source software (OSS).

This confidence stems from the abundant anecdotal evidence that OSS benefits both government and commercial organizations. In Asia, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (Mindef), for instance, saved S$15 million (US$9.3 million) by deciding to let its existing licenses for Office 97 software lapse and to migrate to OpenOffice instead.

Thailand's National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC), the nation's IT development agency, has been replacing its fleet of proprietary software with freeware and open-source applications such as GIMP, OpenOffice and Irfanview. NECTEC director Dr. Thaweesak Koanantakool reckons that at a nationwide level, using OSS saved Thailand US$45 million in 2003.

The state-owned Central Bank of India saved US$4 million a year, or reduced 30 percent of its IT expenses, when it adopted Linux to run Oracle applications last year.

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Open source developers step up anti-patent campaign

Open source developers step up anti-patent campaign

Ingrid Marson
April 14, 2005, 11:55 BST

Projects hope a taste of one possible future will spur people to action

Developers are using shock tactics to persuade the open source community to get involved in the campaign against software patents.

Over the last month various open source projects have replaced their Web home page with one that outlines the risk that the EU Directive on the Patentability of Computer Implemented Inventions, more commonly known as the Software Patent Directive, could pose to free software.

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Open Source Encourages Start-Ups

Plugged in - Next Big Tech Ideas May Be Small Ones

Sat Apr 2, 7:51 AM ET Technology - Reuters

By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Five years after the tech boom went bust, there's a dearth of million dollar or billion dollar ideas, or so some fret.

But it doesn't mean that there is no smart new technology to wow consumers. It's just that people are finding more efficient ways to do it.

Maybe that's because it has never been easier to create potent technology hybrids that mix-and-match hardware components, use a bit of borrowed software code, and require only a few thousand dollars of investment.

From simple Web sites that allow users to share photos or become their own radio broadcasters to do-it-yourself interactive televisions that are being put together to play any sort of TV, photos or Web content for a few hundred dollars, the new breed of inventors aren't counting on a big IPO.

By taking advantage of low-cost computers, freely shared software and high-speed Web connections, the next wave of innovations may not come from any venture-capital funded skunkworks or big business research lab.

"Now people with a good idea are willing to take the risk with $10,000 instead of $10 million. If the idea doesn't pan out they move on," said Justin Chapweske, 26, founder and CEO, of Onion Networks of Lauderdale, Minnesota. "The cost of failure today is just a lot lower."

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Companies help researchers find corn's genetic code

Companies help researchers find corn's genetic code
00:00 am 3/19/05
Jim Suhr AP business writer

ST. LOUIS - A trade group overseeing an effort to unlock corn's genetic code says more than 120 researchers have already used a Web database created to speed up development of biotech crops.

The National Corn Growers Association said this week that the researchers, representing 35 academic institutions, accessed maize gene sequences cataloged in the database.

"There are only little pieces of gene sequences available in the public domain," said Jo Messing, a professor of molecular biology at Rutgers University, who has used the database. "The private collection offers a lot of those missing pieces."

The 8-month-old Web site pools research done on the corn genome by Monsanto Co., DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi- Bred International and Monsanto research partner Ceres.

By offering their data to researchers at nonprofit institutions for noncommercial use, the companies hope to develop hybrid and genetically modified plants that are more drought-resistant or can produce more nutritious corn or fibers.

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MIT urges Brazil to adopt open-source

Media Lab letter argues against using Microsoft software
Updated: 7:56 p.m. ET March 17, 2005

SAO PAULO, Brazil - MIT's Media Lab has recommended Brazil install open-source software instead of proprietary software offered by Microsoft on thousands of computers that will be sold to the poor, according to a letter obtained by Reuters Thursday.

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Open-source heads called for Oasis standard boycott

Open-source heads called for Oasis standard boycott
Tensions over patents and royalties continue throughout industry.

By Matthew Broersma, Techworld

Open-source leaders have called for a boycott of standards from the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), in response to a new OASIS policy on the use of patents in its standards.

In an open letter, more than two dozen prominent figures, including Tim O'Reilly, Bruce Perens, Eric Raymond, Lawrence Rosen, Richard Stallman, Lawrence Lessig and Stuart Cohen, said the patent licensing terms allowed by OASIS' policy "invariably and unreasonably discriminate against open source and free software to the point of prohibiting them entirely". The policy will "lead to the adoption of standards that cannot be implemented in open source and free software, that cannot be distributed under our licenses", the letter stated.

OASIS' revised policy, set to take effect on 15 April, allows standards to include patented technology if the technology is available for license under "reasonable and non-discriminatory" (RAND) terms. However, RAND terms effectively exclude open-source software, which by its nature must be free to distribute with no strings attached.

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Another Patent Portfolio Goes Open Source

CA readies patent pledge
By Martin LaMonica, CNET
Published on ZDNet News: February 18, 2005, 1:02 PM PT

Computer Associates plans to submit a portion of its patent portfolio to open-source developers, following moves by other technology companies delving into open source.

The Islandia, N.Y., company also intends to use its patents to defend against legal action directed at open-source products, according to a company representative. The timing of the patent donation and the terms governing use are still being worked out, the representative said.

CA's decision to make its patents available to others comes on the heels of similar moves by IBM and Sun Microsystems. IBM in January made 500 patents accessible to open-source developers, while Sun released patents related to the open-source Solaris operating system.

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