jm at jmason.org (Justin Mason) writes:
[snip: Linux may infringe 283 patents, OSRM are selling litigation insurance]
> Another question -- who are the OSRM?
The board includes Bruce Perens, Daniel Ravicher, and Pamela Jones.
(Generally good people in my book.)
They sell insurance for $150,000 per year. If a company acccuses the
insured of infringing a patent by use or distribution of Linux (the kernel),
OSRM will try to buy a license for free use of that patent in GPL'd
software, or they'll fund a legal team to defend the accused.
If OSRM lose the court case, the accused company (not OSRM) will have to pay
the damages. (So OSRM are not creating a kitty to be paid out - which would
encourage people to initiate patent lawsuits.)
There is a slight conflict of interest between OSRM and the general free
software community: If the USA's patent system was to be reformed in a good
way, OSRM would lose business. Perens, Ravicher, and PJ are pretty
trustworthy though, so I think OSRM's existence is a good thing.
> this is guaranteed to happen in the software field, where
> there's often only one efficient way to solve a given problem.
Or worse, sometimes there's only one solution, full stop. (no non-efficient
alternative) For example, reading/writing a file format (writing GIF or
PostScript files are two examples) can require use of a patented technique.
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