Patent Liability Insurance

Matt Asay mjasay at
Tue May 15 12:43:54 UTC 2007

Anyone know how OIN could play in this game of Microsoft's?  Meaning, would
open source companies/projects benefit from joining OIN (if that's even
possible - looks like a Big Boys club).  Seems like a good way to get cover
against spurious patent claims...?

> From: "Andrew C. Oliver" <acoliver at>
> Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 08:07:50 -0400
> To: 'License Discuss' <license-discuss at>
> Subject: Re: Patent Liability Insurance
> Personally I think the have-nots on the business end should help fund a
> few of these lawsuits provided they agree never to file their patent
> against open source.  Its a bit Machiavelli meets Sun Tzu but if enough
> people gave to the cause they might be able to shake Microsoft down for
> a few Bil.  Sure they'd just come out with a new flavor of Vista to pay
> for it but maybe take out a few companies like SCO.  Screw up the system
> enough and maybe Brian gets his way..
> Lawrence Rosen wrote:
>> Brian Behlendorf wrote:
>>> I always figured that at some point the cost of patents to the industry as
>>> a whole (excepting trolls with no other revenue stream) would become so
>>> burdensome that even traditionally patent-loving firms would petition for
>>> wholesale effective reform.  It'll be interesting to watch how this case
>>> plays out:
>> If we worried about every silly lawsuit by people who can afford little more
>> than the filing fee in federal court, we'd go crazy. Don't bet that a patent
>> lawsuit can be based on *not* using the technology.
>> OTOH, damages based on *not* using reasonably available technology to fix a
>> bug might (?) be appropriate in some circumstances. I don't see that the
>> "DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners" justify that
>> remedy, though. 
>> Thanks for sharing this bit of legal trivia. It made me laugh at the
>> outrageousness of this case. If you personally are served with this
>> complaint, Brian, call one of us lawyers here to defend you pro bono just
>> for the publicity value. :-)
>> /Larry
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