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ZDNet: Setting Patents Free

Nov 08, 2000, 08:42 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Wayner)

"Raph Levien is the model of an independent inventor. The Berkeley, Calif., software developer says he was probably 10 years old when he filed for his first patent."

"Levien's patent on a technique for protecting memory in computer systems from crashes turned out to be quite a success. He licensed it and started a career of dreaming up ideas and locking them away with patents."

"I've gotten a substantial amount of money for my patent portfolio over the years," he says. "It's been a very reasonable income to pay myself."

"So it was something of a surprise when Levien posted a notice on his Web site earlier this year, offering a free license to anyone who uses his patented ideas in software protected by the Gnu Public License. In other words, anyone who shares "open source" or free software doesn't have to worry about Levien suing for patent infringement."

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