Wednesday, February 16, 2005

HP Linux VP Fink: "Software patents are a fact of life"

Paula Rooney of CRN states that Hewlett-Packard Vice President of Linux Martin Fink chided those in the open-source industry who dismiss the potential threat of patent lawsuits or the value of patents.

Fink is quoted: "Software patents are a fact of life, and to refute them is a little bit naive. We need to be more pragmatic."

Fink is also quoted: "It's what you do with the patent that matters, not whether you have a patent." From a company that lost its CEO for lack of innovation and production, that sounds reasonable.

In the article, we have the following questionable text:

Unlike a copyright, which allows others to make copies or prepare derivative works of intellectual property, a patent is an exclusive right to exclude others from taking, using, modifying or selling someone's work, said Lawrence Rosen, an attorney for RosenLaw & Einschlag.

Well, yes, there is a "fair use" defense in copyright, but it is NOT a blanket right to make copies or prepare derivative works. Of patent, what happened to make, use, sell, and offer for sale?

Rooney also wrote:

Over the next five years, the open-source services market will reach $14 billion, and customers will increasingly need integration, deployment and consulting services, according to Fink. "It's the next step—to build value while reducing overall cost," he said. "We finally have an approach that allows businesses and Linux to thrive in the business world."


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