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2006-04-29 Patents

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JanneJalkanen writes about an open source software developer: He got sent “an invoice for $203,000, claiming that the 7000 or so users of his software resulted in damages of at least $29/each. It turns out that the patent in question was applied for after Ben Jacobsen published the source code of his program on the internet, and therefore his program qualifies as prior art. Unfortunately, because of the way these patent disputes work, it may be very costly for Ben Jacobsen to defend his right to keep working on his own software.” [1]

WTF? This shows that even if everything goes according to plan, it’s fucked up, because the entire system is fucked up anyway.

Janne got his stuff from RightToCreate [2] (“Right to Create is dedicated to exposing the abuses of patent and copyright systems, demonstrating that limiting the power of the Intellectual Property Regime will result in a better world for inventors, industry, individuals, and society as a whole.” – Sounds good to me!)

There’s an update to the original post, with some words by the software developer’s attorney. [3]

And another RightToCreate update [4] pointing to a LWN article with a summary of the case by Groklaw founder Pamela Jones [5].

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