Black Duck patents managing open source licenses
Black Duck Software has announced that it has been granted a patent for "Resolving license dependencies for aggregations of legally-protectable content". The patent, 7,552,093, was actually issued to Black Duck in June 2009, but it is only now that the company is announcing that the patent has been granted. Black Duck filed for the patent in December 2003.
The patent covers the process of automatically finding licences within code and converting these licences into a set of simple attribute values which can be used to determine whether there is an issue with the intermingling of code. Black Duck Software specialise in providing licence management for corporations which may be incorporating open source code or free software into the software that they develop.
The H contacted Black Duck Software to find out if it was preparing to place the patent under a patent promise similar to those of Red Hat or Microsoft and were told that Black Duck has taken the question under consideration, but at this time they have no further comment.
One person who did comment was Bradley M Kuhn, Technology Director at the Software Freedom Law Centre, who said on his personal blog "I think I just got Patented". Kuhn says he is "appalled to discover this patent claims, as a novel invention, things I've done regularly, with a mix of my brain and a computer, since at least 1999". The SFLC has previously criticised Black Duck for a lack of openness.