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Liberties Group Claims Patent Rule Hurts Open Source

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A legal test used to assess the validity of patents threatens the development of free and open source software, according to a civil liberties group.

The test can be used to create legal obstacles to free and open source (FOSS) collaborations, according to a friends of the court brief filed Wednesday by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The case, KSR International v. Teleflex, et. al., is expected to be heard during the next term of the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Because these collaborations are forged primarily through community rather than capital investment, many FOSS projects lack the funding to pay patent counsel, much less afford litigation," the EFF brief said. "Thus, the normal costs of doing business in the patent-laden world of information technology -- opinion letters, litigation, etc. -- are exponentially detrimental for FOSS."

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