Few can compete with Mark Radcliffe for the distinction of savviest, canniest open-source legal mind. He advises half the known open-source business landscape and sits at the crossroads of copyright and copyleft. Very, very smart and a great asset to anyone fortunate enough to retain him.
It's therefore highly worthwhile to read through Mark's survey of the top ten open-source legal issues in 2007. Here's one, in particular, that caught my eye:
First Patent Infringement Lawsuit by Patent Trolls against FOSS [free and open source] Vendors. IP Innovation LLC (and Technology Licensing Corporation) filed suit against Red Hat and Novell in what may be the first volley in a patent war against a FOSS vendor. Acacia is a well known patent troll which has been buying patents for some time and works through multiple subsidiaries. The FOSS industry provides a tempting target because of its rapid growth. These suits could slow the expansion of FOSS because many potential licensees express concern about potential liability for infringement of third party rights by FOSS.
Indeed. 2007 was the year in which open source clearly came into its own, as demonstrated by the fact that so many legal precedents were set vis-a-vis open source. Stroll over to Mark's blog for more.