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The software patent solution has been right here all along

InfoWorld - Simon Phipps - New paper from legal researcher suggests a fix for the software patent mess has been lurking in the statute all this time.

Software patents have been an agent of change in open source over the last decade, as I explained in my keynote at the 8th International Conference on Open Source Systems this week. Most notably, the astonishing proliferation of software patents has forced technology companies to spend a lot of time and energy assembling defensive portfolios.

Moreover, software patents are written to cover not just the implementation of an invention but also its function -- the idea behind it. The result: a fearsome threat to even the richest corporation, effectively closing whole areas of markets, no matter how innovative the alternative. Open source developers in particular have expressed concern because many of them have no corporate employer to defend them in the event of an attack by a patent holder. Software patents are bogeymen that every open source community must deal with.

[ Read up on Simon Phipps' classic post, "Why software patents are evil." | Track the latest trends in open source with InfoWorld's Technology: Open Source newsletter. ]

How is the open source community responding to the threat of software patents? Let me count the ways: