The US Supreme Court is setting things right these days. Last week it was a patent jurisdiction that slashed the patent litigation industry of the Eastern District of Texas, and this week it is Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., a decision supporting robust application of the exhaustion doctrine in the sale of patented articles. In the Lexmark decision last year, the Federal Circuit upheld the ability of Lexmark to avoid patent exhaustion, when selling its printer toner cartridges, by promulgating a legend that the cartridges were sold for single use. After that decision came down, I went onto Zazzle and made up a coffee mug with this legend:
RETURN EMPTY MUG TO HEATHER MEEKER
PLEASE READ BEFORE DRINKING
Drinking from this mug confirms your acceptance of the following license agreement. This promotional mug is provided to you free of charge in connection with promotion of legal services (method patent pending) subject to a restriction that it may be used only once. Following this initial use, you agree to return the mug to Heather Meeker. A regular price mug without these terms is available.
I gave them to a dozen or so people, none of whom returned them. Now my little prank is irrelevant, but that’s probably for the best.
Bruce Perens posted an interesting and informative article about the case here. It was particularly interesting to me to read some of the background on Ghostscript.
The US Supreme Court today in TC Heartland re-interpreted the venue rules for patent infringement suits, dealing a severe blow to the primacy of the Eastern District of Texas as forum of choice for patent plaintiffs.
Fraunhofer IIS announced (click on the Overview tab in the link) termination of its patent licensing program for MP3, as their MP3 patents have expired. The format has now mostly been superseded by others like AAC, but at least, this means open source MP3 codecs carry less infringement risk.
Please celebrate responsibly!
The Northern District of California denied a motion to dismiss Artifex’s lawsuit alleging violation of the GPL, paving the way for further action to enforce the license terms for Ghostscript.
Congratulations to Pilosa for its launch today! Pilosa provides open source software that enables “Insanely Fast Queries on Really Big Data.” Like lots of great open source software, Pilosa’s software grew out of necessity — engineers wanting better tools to process segmentation queries on large data sets. For more about the product, see the FAQ.
The Linux Foundation has released a free downloadable white paper on Practical GPL Compliance — “a guide for startups, small businesses, and engineers tasked with shipping products that contain GNU General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2) code.” The Guide is written by two of the world’s top experts in the topic: Shane Coughlan and Armijn Hemel. Congratulations and thanks to them for creating and sharing this excellent resource!