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On November 9, The Supreme Court of the United States will hear opening arguments in the most high stakes patent law case on its docket in more than two decades, Bilski v. Kappos.

The case centers around the US Patent Office’s rejection of Bernard Bilski’s application on a computer-assisted method of hedging risk in the commodities trade, but the court’s decision will have much wider implications.

At issue in Bilski is a patent system that has come to stifle rather than spur innovation over the past 20 years by awarding patents to “business methods” that are central to the operations of pharmaceutical companies, financial services firms, and insurance providers, among others. Activities that have become part of peoples’ daily lives, from online shopping to searching Wikipedia, will also be affected by Bilski.

As a non-profit legal services firm for Free and Open Source Software programmers, the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) is one of the many organizations with an interest in the outcome of Bilski. Google, Bank of America, J.C. Penney, and Bloomberg LLC are some of the other third-parties that submitted briefs to the court.

The SFLC has published a new Bilski resource page to guide anyone interested in the history and significance of the case. It includes short summaries of some of the briefs submitted to the court, background documents, previously published SFLC commentary about the case, and links to other web resources.


On November 9, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in Bilski v. Kappos, a case that could fundamentally alter the application and scope of U.S. patent law and be felt across the economy, from banking and e-commerce to software and pharmaceuticals.



Today SFLC filed a letter with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York objecting to the Google Book Search Copyright Class Action Settlement. In the letter, filed on behalf of the FSF and author Karl Fogel, SFLC asks the court to consider the impact of the settlement upon members of the class who have distributed their works under Free licenses.


The Software Freedom Law Center is looking for a motivated individual to join our staff in a new and challenging public relations position, “Project Liaison and Media Relations”. Details and instructions for applying are available on the opportunities page.

The Software Freedom Law Center is looking for a motivated individual to join our staff in a new and challenging public relations position, “Project Liaison and Media Relations”. Details and instructions for applying are available on the opportunities page.




Today’s settlement between Microsoft and TomTom ends one phase of the community’s response to Microsoft patent aggression, and begins another. On the basis of the information we have, we have no reason to believe that TomTom’s settlement agreement with Microsoft violates the license on the kernel, Linux, or any other free software used in its products. The settlement neither implies that Microsoft patents are valid nor that TomTom’s products were or are infringing.


The Software Freedom Law Center, a New York based not-for-profit legal services organization that provides legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), seeks a registered patent attorney passionate about defending software freedom.


Today, SFLC, along with its client the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GCC Steering Committee, announce the release of a new GCC Runtime Library Exception. This license exception will allow the GCC codebase to be upgraded to GPLv3, and enable the development of a plugin framework for GCC.

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