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The Register: RTLinux patent treads a narrow path

Feb 15, 2000, 18:44 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Graham Lea)

"A tricky situation has arisen over a Linux patent (US: 5,995,745) obtained by Victor Yodaiken of Real-Time Linux. Although he intends that users of RTLinux, as well as Linux users who label their application as being compatible with RTLinux and who release them under GPL will not have to pay royalties, it is a narrow path that he is walking."

"...there have been thousands of other papers on the subject, and hundreds of patents, all of which appear to add up to the inevitable conclusion that the patent was not examined properly by the highly inadequate US patent office.

It seems rather unlikely that in all this work there is no other mention of what Yodaiken claims to be his invention: preemption in a general purpose operating system for real-time tasks - and after all, even VMS did this. The wider issue of software patents generally, and defensive patents for the Linux community, needs much more attention. The only solution would appear to be some legislation to require a pubic comment period when prior art could be submitted, or comments made about the novelty. This would go a long way to removing the need for expensive legal procedures to strike down patents that should not have been issued."

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