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Monday, August 02, 2004
Group: Linux potentially infringes 283 patents

Linux potentially infringes 283 patents, including 27 held by Microsoft but none that have been validated by court judgments, according to a group that sells insurance to protect those using or selling Linux against intellectual-property litigation.

Dan Ravicher, founder and executive director of the Public Patent Foundation, conducted the analysis for Open Source Risk Management. OSRM is like an insurance company, selling legal protection against Linux copyright-infringement claims. It plans to expand the program to patent protections.

Of the 283 patents, 98 are owned by Linux allies, OSRM said, including 60 from IBM, 20 from Hewlett-Packard and 11 from Intel. The months-long review examined versions 2.4 and 2.6 of the kernel, or heart, of Linux, Ravicher said.

Though OSRM's patent protection won't start until the beginning of 2005, it has set pricing: $150,000 per year for coverage of lawsuit and settlement costs of up to $5 million, Ravicher said.

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