The US government is starting down the long, arduous path of patent reform. Obviously this will entail lengthy debate and would hopefully at the very least move patent law in the US a few steps ahead.
This issue is certainly of importance to those in the open source arena, as even though many developers of all sizes are releasing patents into the open, the direction legislators take will either improve or worsen intellectual property issues and licensing.
Of equal interest is Linus Torvald’s foray into protecting the Linux name. Some have reacted poorly to Torvald’s moves – however, as the LinuxInsider piece reflects – he communicated his concerns several years back.
Personally I look at trademark and patent issues far apart from one another and see no harm in Linus protecting his namesake. I am sure we all see the value in his contributions to our world.
We have had commercialization discussions before facing the growing pains of Linux and open source in general entering the marketplace alongside the mavens of proprietary software. Certainly as we track the new GPL, we should equally track and comment on this new road toward patent reform.
I think most of us who have dealt with patents would agree with many who have already sounded off on the issue that first and foremost increased funding and more targeted and trained staff at the US Patent and Trademark Office would be a solid first step.