The US Supreme Court's recent Bilski decison set back patent reform by at least a decade, one top Linux defender said.
At LinuxCon, Software Freedom Law Center chairman Eben Moglen said the late June decision -- which extended to one business process the same patent protections that traditionally covered machines -- will keep trollers in business and open source companies on guard.
Moglen said companies and individuals are now comfortable with open source licenses and doing hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce but the industry won't be able to eradicate trollers for at least 10 years.
"We will not between now and 2020 [face] a copyright crisis but the patent crisis is not going away. We learned this from the United States Supreme Court," Moglen said during his keynote. "What we know is that in the U.S., clarity on the relationship of patents to software is not coming any time soon and if there's no clarity in the U.S., there's no clarity in the world anytime soon."
He maintains the U.S. patent system is rife with secrecy and troublemaking and is harming innovation. Trollers and proprietary companies attempt to intimidate open source projects into non existence, force open source projects without revenue to take licenses and organizations that behave hostile to the GPL all the time, he said.
But the community must fight off each attack with rigor. "They swing patents in ways which hurt. We're going to have to deal with this slowly, carefully and precisely," he said. "We need careful negotiation through the shoals of the patent system."