A shipment to a German distributor was accidently mislabel with "MP3" (The Openmoko can't play MP3's unless modified). That was enough for the German customs to seize it according to European piracy protection laws. You might think that Fraunhofer owns the MP3 patents? Well Philips saw that Franhofer made money from this, and set up a company in Italy called Sisvel. Sisvel has now ordered the customs to seize any shipments of MP3 players, and they will sue the importers. This apparently happens 100.000 times/year, only on Sisvels behalf. Before the case goes into court they offer to settle. Pay us or...
If you think paying Fraunhofer and Sisvel would allow you to build MP3 players.. think again. The patent system is flawed.
Link to MP3 patent disaster
I have tried to contact Sisvel both on their official website and through emails. So far they have not responded at all. /Anders H.
Finally, every program is threatened constantly by software patents. States should not allow patents to restrict development and use of software on general-purpose computers, but in those that do, we wish to avoid the special danger that patents applied to a free program could make it effectively proprietary. To prevent this, the GPL assures that patents cannot be used to render the program non-free. - http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html