Today I finally finished an article I have been writing for Wikipedia, as part of my IP Law class. The professor for this class is the same as the one that taught the Cyberlaw class I took in the Spring, and once again, he has asked us to work on Wikipedia as part of our classwork.
We were able to choose an article on Wikipedia that was related to the class, and I chose to work on the article on Jacobsen v. Katzer, which is a very important case as it relates to open source licensing, patent law, copyright, DMCA, and just about every other possible IP law issue.
Ultimately, it was a very complicated case because Katzer has attempted to throw the book at Jacobsen (and vice versa). The court has not yet resolved all the issues, but from reading through about half of the court documents that Jacobsen has posted, it appears that Katzer has:
- Patented technology that was not his to patent
- Attempted to get licensing fees from Jacobsen for those patents
- Stolen the intellectual property of an open source project, stripped it of its license and then incorporated it into his own commercial project
- Attempted to sue Jacobsen for copyright violation for something - I’m not even sure what
- And more - see the article for details
In short, it’s a nasty, nasty case, but ultimately it should work out for Jacobsen, and he should come out the better (or at least none the worse). At a minimum, he has to prove that the patents are invalid, Katzer stole his IP, and that he didn’t steal Katzer’s IP - a walk in the park.
Clearly, that’s easier said than done, but he’s fighting what appears to be the good fight, and it looks like if he keeps at it, he will win in the end.
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