Here is some quotes taken from the blog post of Jonathan Schwartz, CEO of Sun Microsystems, that he is emphasizing in bold (so it should be important):
- Sun indemnifies all its customers against IP claims like this
- Sun protects the communities using our technologies under free software licenses
- we file patents defensively
- we are requesting a permanent injunction to remove all of their [NetApp] filer products from the marketplace
- Under the license, we've waived all rights to sue them for any of the patents or copyright associated with ZFS. We've let Apple know we will use our patent portfolio to protect them and the Mac ZFS community from Net App.
What can you conclude from that?
That the future of free software and software patents might be in the interests of big players such as Sun or IBM, which could play the dual swpat+freesw, while benefiting from the competitive advantage to claim patent indemnification to their customers, like Novell is currently doing.
Nevertheless, you can expect that, with a defensive strategy, the balance sheet of the patent system for Sun is already negative, if they do not overestimate the value of cross-licensing with other industry players.
And finally, I wonder if there is not something contradictory in this sentence:
And I am committing that Sun will donate half of those proceeds to the leading institutions promoting free software and patent reform (in specific, The Software Freedom Law Center and the Peer to Patent initiative), and to the legal defense of free software innovators.
Does the Peer to patent project really protect free software innovators? What about a good quality software patent issued by the Peer Patent Project to sue Redhat or Sun?