[A2k] US and German competition authorities obtain compulsory licenses on patents to "protect competition and innovation in the open source software community."

Karsten Gerloff gerloff at fsfeurope.org
Wed Aug 10 03:44:24 PDT 2011

Hi Jamie,

On Thu, Aug 04, 2011 at 02:34:54PM -0400, Jamie Love wrote:
> I had missed this earlier, but noticed it on a blog that Manon posted to
> Google Plus.  I think it is relevant to those who peruse compulsory licenses
> for medical, software or climate change technologies.  In April of this
> year, US and German antitrust officials obtained extensive compulsory
> licenses on patents in order to "protect competition and innovation in the
> open source software community."  This is the US DOJ press release.

thanks for highlighting this once more!

At FSFE we were very actively involved in making this happen. Here
are our statements to the German Federal Competition Office


Still, I should note that:

 - the DOJ investigation into the sale of Novell's patents is
   still ongoing

 - we have yet to see action on the authorities' part beyond the
   press release you quoted.

So rather than an actual compulsory license, it's the
*perspective* of a compulsory license, or something different --
we don't yet know how the DOJ will implement this.

There's another interesting aspect to this: The German
Bundeskartellamt (competition authority) also did a press release 


Besides echoing the DOJ's release, the Germans also note that
patent-based strategies of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) can
be anticompetitive. 

To my knowledge, this is the first time that a competition
authority acknowledges FUD as a threat to competition in the
market. It's a good reference.

Best regards,
Karsten Gerloff                      [ ]   <gerloff at fsfeurope.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe   [ ][ ][ ]      [http://fsfe.org]
President                            | |         +49 176 9690 4298
Your donation powers our work!           [http://fsfe.org/donate/]

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