Open Source as Prior Art (OSAPA)
The Linux Foundation supports the USPTO's drive to improve the quality of software patents. The goal is to reduce the number of poor quality patents that issue by increasing accessibility to Open Source Software code and documentation that can be used as prior art during the patent examination process. For the Open Source community and many others, this means a reduction in the number of software patents that can be used to threaten software developers and users, and a resulting increase in innovation.
Three specific patent quality initiatives have been identified as a result of collaboration among the USPTO, IBM, OSDL and others in the Open Source community and software industry. Those patent quality initiatives are:
- Open Source Software as Prior Art (the subject of this website)
- Community Patent Review
- Patent Quality Index
HistoryIn early December 2005, the USPTO met with members of the Open Source community and industry to discuss ways in which they could collaborate to improve the quality of patents, including software patents.
One of the initiatives explored involved improving accessibility by patent examiners and others to electronically published source code and its related documentation as a source of prior art. That initiative, dubbed the "Open Source as Prior Art Initiative," involves work and development in several different areas, including the following:
- Establishing electronic publication practices that any software author can use to ensure their source code can be used as prior art.
- Creating search mechanisms and interfaces that allow patent examiners and others to more easily locate relevant electronically published source code and its related documentation.
- Developing a "taxonomy" or "tagging" system that can be used by software developers, patent examiners and others to describe and help locate relevant source code and documentation.
The USPTO has agreed to pursue all of the initiatives discussed at that meeting, including the Open Source as Prior Art Initiative.
Participants Here are some of the companies, projects, and individuals who have expressed an interest in participating in this project:
- Eclipse Foundation
- The Linux Foundation
This website and related wiki and mailing lists provide a central location for information and exchanges of ideas on the Open Source Software as Prior Art Initiative.
- OSAPA Wiki
- The priorart discussion list (priorart-discuss)
- Patent Commons
- Linux Legal Defense Fund
Open Source as Prior Art
The topic of this Project is: Open Source as Prior Art (should probably be renamed to FLOSS as Prior Art, just to be neutral about some political/social issues). Thus you need to know what FLOSS and Prior Art is. Here you can find some basic information: