Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Linux Defenders Battles Crappy Patents

I like the thought behind the new Linux Defenders service, which was launched this week by the Open Invention Network, Software Freedom Law Center, and Linux Foundation. It combines on one site the Peer-to-Patent and Post-Issue Peer-to-Patent projects, and will add to the mix a listing of "Defensive Publications," which presumably will describe individual inventions with some rigor and in a manner that permits patent examiners and others to rely on both the descriptions and dates of the inventions. The resulting database will be available to the public.

If this gathers some steam, it could become a valuable resource for patent professionals. Though titled "Linux Defenders," it doesn't appear to be limited to Linux-based inventions, or even open source ideas. And while it is not paying bounties, like Article One Partners, it is tapping in to the open-source ethos that may prove to be a stronger motivator for contributors than will the uncertain prospect of a future monetary reward.

The examples of Defensive Publications on the website could use some improvement. While they appear to describe how the inventions work, they lack date references, as well as links that would allow a searcher to dig deeper for original source material.

A spin-off service, called "Linux Defenders 911," offers help "[i]f your company is being victimized by any entity seeking to assert its patent portfolio against Linux." If so, you're asked to "please contact us so that we can aid you in your battle with these dark forces."

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