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GNOME and Rothschild Patent Imaging settle

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Back in October 2019, the GNOME project announced they had been hit by what they called a patent troll with Rothschild Patent Imaging. Now it seems it has been resolved and it's a big win for open source.

The problem was with the Shotwell image management application, as Rothschild claimed it infringed on their patents. Yesterday, GNOME announced a "walk-away settlement" that not only drops the case against GNOME but both Rothschild Patent Imaging and Leigh Rothschild in the case will now grant a "release and covenant" to any software released under an OSI (Open Source Initiative) approved license which covers the entire Rothschild portfolio of patents. That's a nice win for FOSS developers.

From the GNOME press release:

Neil McGovern, Executive Director for the GNOME Foundation said "I’m exceptionally pleased that we have concluded this case. This will allow us to refocus our attention on creating a free software desktop, and will ensure certainty for all free and open source software in future."

Leigh Rothschild said "I’m pleased that we have managed to settle this issue amicably. I have always supported the innovation of open source software and its developers and encourage its innovation and adoption."

As an added bit of info, OpenUK spoke with GNOME's McGovern in The Register, where they mentioned that it covers over 100 patents. This is thanks to a crowdfunding campaign GNOME did that helped to raise over $150K for the defence.

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Tags: GNOME, Misc
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly. Find me on Mastodon.
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Seegras May 25, 2020
Quoting: AciDI'm glad Europe (still) does not recognizes patents on ideas, not realisations.

In theory. The European Patent Convention (EPC), Article 52, paragraph 2, excludes from patentability, in particular
Quote1. discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
2. aesthetic creations;
3. schemes, rules and methods for performing mental acts, playing games or doing business, and programs for computers
4. presentations of information.
So how come there are more than 100'000 software patents?
Well, they've all been granted illegally. And are not enforcable, because of that. Of course some entitites like to change that..

But the point is, the European Patent Office did act criminally.

However, the EPO is not part of the EU, it's an agreement to which also non-EU members like Switzerland are part. And the EPC never specified a court to which the EPO should be liable. The only thing one could do in light of this criminal behaviour, is to terminate the EPC unilaterally. If enough states just would threathen to terminate the EPC because of the illegal patents, that would probably also work.

In the meantime, the EPO continues to grant illegal patents and be a bad place to work (well, no judical oversight, this applies to labour-issues too):
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