“There are several reasons why engineers should not read other people’s patents, only their own. And it’s not a ‘hide your head in the sand’ issue, it’s a very practical issue of it being a waste of time.”

— Open source icon Linus Torvalds, reacting to Microsoft’s claim that the core of Linux violates 42 of its patents


Share this Post


    Hey, Linus: So if you decide to manufacture Ipods, just ignore Apple’s many patents on that device?

    Yep, I’m your resident patent attorney. It never amazes me how “freeware” folks want everything for—free.

    Until, that is, they spend significant money designing a great new product. Then they sneak into our offices and demand patent protection.

    Analogy: I was in SFO area last couple of weeks and got a dose of non-stop Eco-Green yadda. Everyone is SO environmentally PC. Until, of course, it’s suggested that the folks who jam the 101 into SF every morning in their fancy cars join a carpool–or even consider the bus. “Inconvenient” responded the guys around the pool Saturday.

    In short, the SF/Valley ethic is conviently bifurcated: it’s OK to demand that others do the “right” thing, but don’t inconveniece me.

    So, here, the authors of GMSV (and, it appears, most readers) have no problem demanding that composers, musicans, artists, film-makers and other creative people donate their work to so-called free “communities” and later the same day they sneak into the lawyer’s offices to get patents for their innovations.

    Which gets us back to Linus: just take a peek at the army of patents owned by Apple.

    Of course, our hero (Steve Jobs) is innocent: he doesn’t know about them or, if he ordered them to be obtained, he didn’t understand the “implications” of doing so”.

    Anyone ever heard of the saying “You can’t go to church on Sunday and then start sinning all over again on Monday”?

  • pDale Campbell

    You should try reading the linking article before you start accusing someone of saying things they didn’t say.