Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2014


Trolls Aren't the Only Threat Under the Bridge

What should we do about anti-competitive software patent suits?

Many small and medium free software projects are staffed by volunteers that don't have any money to tempt a patent aggression entity. There's been plenty of talk about patent trolls, but money isn't the only motive for a patent suit. Even if non-practicing entities are eventually curtailed, ill-intentioned practicing entities may not be affected. The free software community will still have to worry about anti-competitive suits, nuisance suits and suits designed to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about the adoption of free software. So, what can we as free software builders, promoters and users do to protect the code we care about?

Some solutions are only effective against non-practicing entities, while others may impact all kinds of bad actors. The strengths and weaknesses of proposed legislation, recent and ongoing campaigns and academic writings will be examined. If legislators and international trade negotiators won't take a stand against anti-competitive patent aggression, then we must do so as a community. Find out about some of the community solutions that are underway and how we can combat the threat of anti-FLOSS plaintiffs together.

Getting rid of the trolls won't be enough. We must also defend ourselves against those who mean to slowly bleed resources out of free software with unjust patent aggression.


Deb Nicholson