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internetnews.com: Perens: New Patent-Suit Threats Poised to Strike

Jan 22, 2004, 18:00 (12 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Alexander Wolfe)

"SCO Group's legal moves over Linux will fizzle, but the IT world may soon feel a new chill in the form of patent lawsuits from other vendors, open-source advocate Bruce Perens predicted Wednesday.

"'SCO is not the real threat,' he said during the LinuxWorld Expo here. In a limited-invite talk billed as an 'Open Source State of the Union,' Perens, who currently serves as executive director of the Desktop Linux Consortium, said Linux and open source are increasingly threatened by software patents.

"That's shorthand for Perens' thesis that companies are building up huge patent portfolios which they'll use as legal bludgeons to extract licensing fees, filing lawsuits if such fees aren't forthcoming. That's what happened in a recent case involving Microsoft, in which the software giant's Internet Explorer browser was found to have infringed on technology patented by the University of California and Eolas Technology. (Microsoft was fined $521 million. It is currently appealing the verdict...)"

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