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08 April 2010, 11:50

Linux Foundation say "breathe easy" on IBM patents

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Linux Foundation Logo The Linux Foundation's CEO, Jim Zemlin, has published a statement from IBM's Daniel Frye in which he reasserts IBM's patent pledge. Zemlin says, on the basis of this statement "Fortunately, all of us can breathe easy - IBM remains true to their word". Frye says that "IBM stands by this 2005 Non-Assertion Pledge as strongly as it did then. IBM will not sue for the infringement of any of those 500 patents by any Open Source Software".

The statements of reassurance were challenged by NoSoftwarePatents campaigner Florian Mueller, who, in a blog posting, pointing out the original pledge was to "not assert" the patents, a broader promise than promising not to sue. He also notes that the statement comes from IBM's Open Source division, and not the mainframe division which sent the original letter.

Mueller describes IBM's position as "confused and confusing" and that even if IBM satisfactorily resolves the issue of the pledged patents, the company is still asserting 171 patents or patent applications in its dispute with TurboHercules SAS. "The patent pledge" which applied to 500 patents "was a drop in the ocean from the beginning" said Mueller pointing out that IBM holds over 50,000 patents.

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