[MUD-DEV] patents and muds

Cynbe ru Taren cynbe at muq.org
Mon Nov 1 16:20:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


Understand the economics: Prior art is almost irrelevant, because it
costs about $10,000 to acquire a software patent and about $1,000,000
to get one revoked on account of prior art.

So -if- you have a legal warchest the size of your opposition, you can
-hope- to get one patent revoked for every 100 that they acquire,
assuming you -do- in fact have solid prior art to show and legal chances
break your way -and- you have a decade to spend on the task.

In economc terms, it is a fool's game.

If you're playing the game even slightly rationally, you're far better
off spending your $1,000,000 getting 100 software patents of your own
and then running around signing blanket cross-license agreements.

Which is in fact what all the major players do.

If anyone here seriously has funding for megabuck efforts of this
sort, the most practical attack is probably to equip the Free Software
Foundation (or Software In The Public Interest or whatever vehicle you
prefer) with a nice fat software patent portfolio of its own, and then
go do the blanket cross-license dance like everyone else.  And extend
the resulting legal umbrella over all significant Linux source via
appropriate paperwork.

Me, I'd sooner move to Finland and spend the time coding. :)

 Cynbe




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