[Fsfe-ie] IBM offers patents to Open Source projects

David O'Callaghan david.ocallaghan at cs.tcd.ie
Thu Jan 13 11:54:59 CET 2005

Barry Mahon wrote:
> IBM will begin allowing the use of 500 technologies covered by patents
> it holds by developers working on open source projects. [...]

It's difficult to know how to respond to this. Accepting this offer 
essentially means accepting software idea patents. Although they may be 
offering these 500 "technologies", they're still getting almost 9 new 
patents a day on average: If you accept the validity of the 500 patents, 
presumably you must also implicitly accept the validity of their other 

I think the best approach may still be *not* to do a patent search 
before releasing your software and *not* to acknowledge these IBM 
patents, as doing so implies that you should be aware of any patents you 
are infringing, which apparently makes you more liable.

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