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Does the OSDL Want to be a Patent Nanny?

Announces Patent Commons Project at LinuxWorld Expo

The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) unveiled the OSDL Patent Commons Project this week at LinuxWorld. The consortium wants to be the central repository where software patents and patent pledges are housed for the benefit of the open source community and the industry.

When asked if the Commons would make any difference, OSDL general counsel said it would make the open source community "feel good." OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen said the Patent Commons was designed "to increase the utility and value of the growing number of patent pledges and promises" made in the past year by making it easier for developers and the industry to take advantage of the pledged IP.

It's also supposed to make it easier for companies to pledge patents to the open source cause by relieving them of their administrative and logistical housework.

OSDL says "patent holders can be assured that the right to enforce the patents will be administered by an organization dedicating to accelerating the development and use of open source software" and that "developers can be assured that those patents won't be enforced against them on open source software."

Florian Mueller, the founder of NoSoftwarePatents.com who helped derail software patents in the European Union and has been called one of the 50 most influential people in IP, greeted OSDL's move by releasing a statement expressing "constructive caution."

This is an abridged version of a story that originally appeared at www.clientservernews.com

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Linux Business News Desk 08/12/05 05:13:38 PM EDT

The consortium wants to be the central repository where software patents and patent pledges are housed for the benefit of the open source community and the industry. When asked if the Commons would make any difference, OSDL general counsel said it would make the open source community 'feel good.'