CyberTech Rambler

October 12, 2007

Can Groklaw’s community effort help Linux fight patent trolls? I hope so.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ctrambler @ 8:14 am

To most of its reader, Groklaw is a site where the SCO cases are dissected in minute details. As the cases progressed, it becomes clearer and clearer that SCO is kaput on lawsuit. Hence, it is not surprised that Groklaw handed it a TKO long before Judge Kimball did. One consequence of this SCO saga is we see the first large scale collective effort by volunteers in reporting and researching major cases. I have no doubt Groklaw is a place where IBM’s and Novell’s lawyers (and SCO’s of course) regularly checks to see whether they miss out anything or for new research direction.

SCO cases is a relatively straight forward case because SCO has nothing to stand on. Now it appears that after Apple, RedHat and Novell Linux is feeling the patent litigation suite from a patent troll. Conspiracy theory aside, I hope Groklaw will step up and be the community focus on fighting this case. It will be interesting to see whether we can duplicate the effort we see in the SCO cases. Groklaw had in the past, tentatively tried to help in the RIAA cases. The effort is by comparison extremely limited, and we do not know whether the lawyers in RIAA cases find it useful and worth the work of  distill information out from the noises.

If Groklaw did, we will be uncharted water (again) as this will be the first time it looks into a patent case, not copyrights as in RIAA cases and SCO cases. In comparison, RIAA cases are more difficult because there are valid copyright claims. Patent cases will probably be even more difficult. May be it will turn out that this patent case is another no brainer like SCO’s case. ARS’s article on the patent seems to me to say that it will fail the “obviousness” test even in 1991 and Groklaw hinted as much.

In parallel, I hope all these lawsuits will finally show lawmakers all around the world that there are serious problems in IP laws that need to be fixed.

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