Last week an advocacy group that champions the use of free and open source software, including the Linux operating system, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate all software patents.

The request was made by the Software Freedom Law Center in an amicus brief submitted in the case known as Microsoft v. AT&T, which is scheduled for argument Feb. 21. It is unlikely that the Court would take the advocacy group up on its invitation, if for no other reason than the Court has only asked the parties to brief narrower questions presented by the case, which focuses on the degree to which a U.S. software patent can be enforced abroad. Still, the center, which aims to provide legal peace of mind to developers and users of open-source software, is putting the lightening-rod issue on the Court's radar screen and hoping the Court will craft its ruling in a way that tees up the broader issue for future resolution.