I’ve asked a few times why IP assurance is a customer concern. But I’m not a lawyer, or one in training. Lucky for you, Luis Villa (a lawyer in training and OSS guy) jumped in to correct me.

“…make what appears to be the same error: comparing IP to “environmental rules or workplace safety regulations”. There is a critical difference, of course: if the EPA or comes after Microsoft, and I use Microsoft products, I can’t be sued. If a patent holder comes after Microsoft, and I use Microsoft products, I can be sued, since patent law allows penalties both for manufacture and use of infringing products. (Joe Shaw correctly cites the relevant law here.) That’s fundamentally different from most other forms of law, where customers typically aren’t liable for the sins of the vendor.

I stand corrected on the law. Customers should act accordingly until vendors act in the interest of their customers on the IP Assurance front.

I don’t agree with the law and question the efficacy of such a law in the software landscape. But I do not want to propagate the misconception that IP is just a vendor concern from a legal standpoint.