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PATNEWS: IBM's free software offer - how about its patents?

Dec 19, 1998, 18:50 (0 Talkback[s])

"Unlike most other contributors to the free software movement, IBM has a large issued and pending patent portfolio, and a reputation of asserting its patent portfolio aggressively. Will IBM be issuing guarantees that anyone using the Secure Mailer system will be exempt from infringement of IBM patents that pertain to Secure Mailer?

"A needless worry you say? Well the November 9th issue of NetworkWorld reports that IBM informed the IETF that IBM will charge licensing fees for pending patents that pertain to the Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) quality-of-service (QoS) specification."

"Mel Beckman, chief technology officer for the Systems and Software Consortium, an ISP in Santa Barbara, says he already has to pay an extra 7% more for his Cisco routers with SNA capabilities because Cisco licenses SNA from IBM, adding that IBM is going against the nature of open standards."

Complete article.