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Nokia: Linux kernel may use our patents May 26, 2005

Posted by rjdohnert in Software reviews.

Nokia, is offering Linux engineers the right to use their patents in the Linux kernel. First, Nokia works on Cell phones. the only thing I could even see Nokia’s technologies being used is in embedded versions of Linux. At least Nokia is putting its policy on their home page, unlike Novell and IBM who have only made promises, nothing with real. Second, I very much dislike the clause they put in there:

” Nokia isn’t extending its legal protection to those who assert their own patent infringement claims against the Linux kernel. “Nokia also believes that a party should not enjoy use of Nokia’s patents and at the same time threaten the development of the Linux kernel by assertion of its own patents. Therefore, Nokia’s commitment shall not apply with regard to any party asserting its patents against any Linux kernel,” the company said in a statement.”

I dont like statements like that, because in my opinion that statement basically says to me ” Screw you, play by our rules or dont play at all. If your intellectual property winds up in Linux whether you want it too or not, thats just tough luck.” I would agree that if the person has a friviolous claim , ergo SCO, then thats fine. But what happens if someone has a legitimate claim? If I develop a patented technology and someone decides to violate my rights over said technology by knowingly and maliciously incorporating it into the Linux kernel does that mean Nokia is gonna sue me? Patents may be “evil” but they are a necessary evil. that show me Nokia doesnt care about Intellectual property.


1. Robert - March 4, 2007

Don’t be silly; this Nokia license is exactly the same as the vast majority of patent cross-license deals. ie: “You can use our patents if we can use yours”.

It’s nice that one doesn’t have to have any patents to take part in the deal; but that’s the only oddity.

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