Beware or You May Be Replaced with a Patent

Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center expressed surprise at a recently granted patent.

So, when I look closely at these claims, I am appalled to discover this patent claims, as a novel invention, things that I’ve done regularly, with a mix of my brain and a computer, since at least 1999. I quickly came to the conclusion that this is yet another stupid patent granted by the USPTO that it would be better to just ignore.

Bradley works on issues of compliance around the GPL and the software firm, Black Duck, has been developing tools to try to automate aspects of this work, most notably analyzing software to suss out chain of provenance. The utility of these tools is suspect, read Bradley’s remarks on why.

As he explains about the patent itself, out of a stream of ridiculous and mind numbingly stupid patent stories flowing out of the usual tech news outlets, this one really stood out. He expresses some reluctance to contribute to even highlighting this intellectual monopoly idiocy but I think it is worth highlighting.

As Bradley says, compliance with the GPL or other free software or open source licenses, isn’t that hard. Most of what the SFLC does is outreach and education, not litigation. I also get the impression that the software archeology aspects are rarely all that challenging.

My only question is whether Bradley will initiate or support contesting this patent. Sounds to me like he is living prior art.

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