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What to do if worried by a software patent

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Below is advice for what to do if you're wondering if a particular patent puts your software at risk.

You should keep in mind that any public discussion of the problem could later be used by the patent holder so support a claim of wilful infringement.

Contents

[edit] Advice from the Fedora project

When someone asked about a patent on Fedora's public list, the spokesperson replied:

please don't send public list mails in the format of:

"Hey, I think Fedora might be infringing patent #ABCDEF"

If you really need to send an email like that, send it to legal [at] fedoraproject.org in a private email.
[...]
it could increase the risk exposure of Red Hat.[1]

[edit] Contact Software Freedom Law Center

Exclusively for free software projects, Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) provides legal services, often at no cost.

"Patent Defense" is listed as a service provided by SFLC.[2]

(Can you help? I remember Bradley Kuhn giving advice, something like "Don't worry too much, and do contact us". Reference needed.)

[edit] Contact Open Invention Network

Open Invention Network's "Linux Defenders 911" project includes a contact point:

If your company is being victimized by any entity seeking to assert its patent portfolio against Linux, please contact us so that we can aid you in your battle with these dark forces.[3]

[edit] External links

[edit] References

  1. http://lists.fedoraproject.org/pipermail/legal/2010-August/001362.html
  2. "SFLC: What We Do". http://www.softwarefreedom.org/services/. "SFLC works to protect FOSS from encumbrance by software patents and advocates for the elimination of software patents. SFLC provides clients with a defense against the assertion of third party patents and conducts reexaminations with the patent office to invalidate patents. In cooperation with the Open Invention Network’s Linux Defenders Program, SFLC assists its clients in making appropriate defensive disclosure to preclude adversary gaming of the patent system to the disadvantage of FOSS projects." 
  3. http://openinventionnetwork.com/linux911contact.php


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