Software patents continue to drag down competition and innovation. The troubling news that a consortium of huge companies is using Nortel’s patent portfolio to attack competitors underlines the problem. Continuing their war on Android using purchased patents rather than fair competition, the funders of Rockstar highlight the need for both patent reform and patent defenses.
While many open source advocates remain rightly concerned about the chilling effect of software patents on both innovation and collaboration, open source software has additional defenses against patent aggression that aren’t available to proprietary software. The Open Invention Network (OIN), a novel patent pool fighting for rather than against open source, plays an important role in these defenses.