PATNEWS: IBM’s free software offer – how about its patents?

“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)

“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.”