IBM and Patents

Russell McOrmond russell at
Mon Feb 2 14:19:20 UTC 2004

On Sun, 1 Feb 2004, Ken Brown wrote:

> Hello,
> Does anybody know whey I can get a list of IBM patents that have been
> GPL'ed?

BTW: The GPL is just one copyleft license, and isn't the only license that 
deals with software patents.

  The only published list of IBM information process patents that I am 
aware of is at:

  These are EPO patent numbers, and won't match the likely much larger
number of granted patents in the USA and elsewhere. I believe I read
somwhere that the EPO will (or is) charging for access to the database so
this list will not likely be up-to-date.

  You probably want to get both lists -- a list of information process
patents granted to IBM in various countries that have been licensed in an
OSI and/or FSF compatible patent license, and the (much larger) list of
those that have not.

  Having someone go through the patent list and cross-reference it against
methods used in current FLOSS projects would be very informative.  There
has been work to try to do this for SCO copyright source code with the
expectation that very little code will be found.  I would expect that
going though IBM information process patents that quite a bit of
"infringing code" would be found that was authored by developers who were
unaware of the existance of the IBM patent.

  One of the problems you'll find is that trying to read patent
applications to find out what is being claimed is quite hard and knowing
whether any given software infringes a patent is something where you
almost have to guess what a judge will be in the mood to say.

P.S.  I wrote an article for my BLOG yesterday, and sent references to it
to some policy makers in this area in Canada:

Patent Protection - Who should it serve?

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <> 
 Governance software that controls ICT, automates government policy, or
 electronically counts votes, shouldn't be bought any more than 
 politicians should be bought.  --

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