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January 11, 2005
Let 500 patents bloom
IBM plans to make available 500 of its software patents to anyone working on open-source projects. What's interesting is that IBM appears to be completely changing the way that it views patents: "The new model for IBM... represents a shift away from the traditional corporate approach to protecting ownership of ideas through patents, copyrights, trademark and trade-secret laws. The conventional practice is to amass as many patents as possible and then charge anyone who wants access to them."
Groklaw weighs in on the issue: "We are in a period of transition. Old business models are dying, and new ones are coming into being. And if there is a way to allow everyone to make money the way they want to, that may be, for now, as good as it gets. This is a creative response to the particular issue that GNU/Linux faces with patents, and I applaud it. In honor of this moment, we have a new category of stories, Patents, so you can find only stories on that topic on Groklaw." For more reaction on the move, check out the comments to the Groklaw piece.
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