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05.16.07

Microsoft Open to Mutual ‘Innovation Tax’ (Protection Racket) Program

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the latest round of intimidation charades, Microsoft seems to respond to some claims made by Linus that Microsoft probably violated many patents.

Microsoft: If we’re violating IP, ‘we’ll take a license’

[...]

Now, courtesy of the same Microsoft public-relations representative who provided us press/blogger folks with Microsoft’s full statement on May 14 on its latest patent-infringement claims, here are a couple more Microsoft sound bites on this issue.

The company still seems to believe that it can impose innovation tax, as the following from Sun Microsystsms explains.

Last month, we were hit with two new patent troll cases. With each, there was no warning, no offer to license – just a lawsuit. And, who are these “aggrieved” plaintiffs? In the first case, the litigant is a company called “Exponential Systems”. Exponential alleges that our Sun Grid Compute Utility infringes their patents. So who is spuroAre they creators of competing technology? Do they invest in R&D? Do they create products and jobs that add value to society? Hard to tell, but I doubt it. All we know is that the original patents were owned by a company called “Hemisphere II Investments”, which then transferred the patents to Exponential for the grand sum of $5.

Seriously. We are being dragged into expensive litigation and this is all we know about the other party. Even more frustrating is that one of the primary goals of our Sun Grid is to drive down the cost of computing. I’ve written previously about this tax on innovation. This is a real example.

Software patents do not make sense. Nobody wants them or needs them, except those who try to protect a monopoly that can afford spurious paperwork.

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A Single Comment

  1. gpl1 said,

    May 16, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Gravatar

    Linspire and Kevin Carmony want to violate the spirit of the GPLv2 like Novell IMO.

    Unlike Novell’s agreement, I belive that this idea will still be legal under the GPLv3 (although of crouse Novell’s will be too with the grandfather clause)

    Please read this message board thread based on an article from
    Kevin Carmony.

    Thread: http://forum.freespire.org/printthread.php?t=7196&pp=100

    Article: http://www.linspire.com/linspire_letter_archives.php?id=45

    He posts about wanting to give Linspire _customers_ the option of
    paying Microsoft their extortion money, (somewhat like Novell), but it
    seems tailored to circumvent the current GPLv3 draft this time.

    “Originally Posted by dale95: So Linspire is willing to essentially
    pay royalties to Microsoft for patents? Even though it is against the
    GNU license which Lunix is under?

    Kevin Carmony is saying he agrees with the idea that Linspire pays
    Microsoft in exchange for not sueing Linspire customers over patent
    rights, especially corporate and business customers.

    Wow! I did not really understand the earlier Novell – Microsoft
    agreement before.

    I guess it is practical in the short term.. but are the minds that
    built Linux going to keep writing code which Microsoft skims money
    from.

    Mmm.. Interesting..”

    “Originally Posted by Kevin Carmony: No, Linspire wouldn’t pay the
    royalty, the customer would…IF THEY CHOOSE. What Linspire would
    consider is providing THAT CHOICE, rather than see Linux flounder as
    enterprise customers avoid it on the desktop for fear of messy IP.

    That was the whole point of the Linspire Letter, is that THE USER
    should have the choice here, not you, not me. Some enterprise
    customers and some OEMs would opt for that choice, others wouldn’t.
    That should be THEIR choice, not mine or yours. Thing is, some in the
    open source community believe enterprises shouldn’t even have that
    choice, in which case, they’ll just avoid Linux.

    Kevin”

    I don’t believe the current GPLv3 draft 3 would stop this action,
    since the customers buying the license are distributing and therefore,
    GPLv3 section 11 will not kick in.
    “If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or
    arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a
    covered work, and grant a patent license providing freedom to use,
    propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work to any
    of the parties receiving the covered work, then the patent license you
    grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work
    and works based on it.” Of course, the customer then could not
    distribute GPLv2 or GPLv3 software, but that happens today already, as
    Jeremy Allison stated in his February LinuxWorld interview.

    Very disturbing, please reply back your comments or post something on
    Groklaw regarding this new threat ….it seems the GPL is falling
    apart ot me apart and becoming non-free right in front of our eyes (of
    course, they’re companies, but the GPL made Linux *the communities’*
    and *free*). I am not sure whether this is more or less significant
    than it seems to me.

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