Moving on With Patents and Open-Source Software
I'm starting to wonder if we in the open-source community need a grass-roots effort to address patent and license issues. For the moment, let's just call it "usethesystem.org." Its purpose will be to help our open-source community put aside a resistance to patents and some of the misperceptions that are preventing the community from defending itself with a strong patent portfolio. We have the opportunity to thrive by embracing patents and highly promising means to do so, if we accept them as a fundamental part of our system.
I understand the open-source software community's frustration with the existing software patent infrastructure; like many of you, I engage in discussions and negotiations around patents regularly. But denouncing the patent system and refusing to file for patents isn't the answer, and avoiding the controversy won't make the need for patents go away. It doesn't change the legal system, remove the threat to your intellectual property or prevent others from continuing to file for patents. On the contrary, refusing to resolve the issue by addressing it head-on simply enables other interests, also known as your competitors, to keep on collecting the patents that will put them in the driver's seat with a greater ability to put their own interests ahead of yours -- and in some cases, the community's.