Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Nov 2010 19:53 UTC
Novell and Ximian We were well aware that Novell had put itself on the market, coyly winking at passers-by, displaying its... Assets. VMware was a contender, but things have played out entirely different: Novell has been bought by Attachmate Corp., with a Microsoft-led consortium buying unspecified intellectual property from Novell.
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RE[3]: patents?
by lemur2 on Mon 22nd Nov 2010 22:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: patents?"
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"I think I'm confusing copyright with patents. I'm never quite sure whether software code fall under copyright or patents.
The actual code is under copyright. The ideas behind the code are under patents. Patents area far more dangerous, you can always rewrite code, but hacking around very general concepts is much much harder. "

Not quite right ... patents are not awarded for ideas, they are awarded for inventions.

What is the difference you might ask?

Patent titles almost always begin with "A method for <doing something>". What is patented is the particular method, not the idea itself of "<doing something>". You would be able to get a patent for a new type of nail gun (specifically, on the new method that your new nail gun design used to propel nails), but not for the idea of a nail gun itself, or nails, or carpentry for that matter.

As for Novel patents and free software ... Novel is a contributing member to the OIN and the Patent Commons.

If a new owner tried to withdraw Novel patents, say from the Patent Commons, and then tried to sue a free software project over them, then the doctrine of promissory estoppel would surely apply.

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