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05.19.07

Microsoft Patent Claims Have Just Been Invalidated, Rubbished

Posted in FSF, GPL, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Well, isn’t that wonderful news? As it stands, everything that Microsoft has claimed might end up totally annulled. Todd Bishop has the scoop, which is discussed further in Groklaw.

In basic terms, as Moglen explained to the online audience, the new version of the license would make Microsoft subject to the GPL, because of its distribution of Novell Suse Enterprise Linux coupons. Under the language of the license, Microsoft would then be prevented from pursuing patent claims against the broader Linux community. Not just Novell’s Linux users would be protected.


This is news indeed. Todd Bishop has the story. Eben Moglen is saying that the SUSE vouchers Microsoft is distributing have no expiration date! I didn’t know this. It’s huge. This is, according to Moglen’s remarks, another defense to any patent infringement claim by Microsoft, and it may well bring that campaign to a screeching halt.

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3 Comments

  1. shane said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Gravatar

    Eben Moglen is my hero.

    (how many times have I written that?)

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Gravatar

    http://boycottnovell.com/2006/11/19/eben-moglen-is-my-hero/ :-)

  3. shane said,

    May 19, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Gravatar

    Further from Groklaw:

    Here’s how I understand the legal argument. Microsoft is a distributor already under GPLv2, because of distributing the vouchers and some other unstated things FSF’s Brett Smith hinted at when he stated the FSF view. So there is already a defense, thanks to GPLv2′s implied patent license. But under GPLv3, it’s not implied. Here is precisely what happens to Microsoft when someone hands in a voucher after the GPLv3 is in effect:

    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.

    No wonder, as Moglen puts it, Microsoft has been tossing the vouchers wholesale out of airplanes “as though the coupons themselves were hot, as indeed they are”. But now here comes Moglen saying even that won’t work, because of the lack of an expiration date on the vouchers. And so, as the sun sets over the horizon, we may be bidding a fond farewell to Microsoft’s patent bullying. I hope some friendly folks have bought a voucher. If so, you might just want to take a breather before you turn it in, huh? Then it’s buh-bye to Microsoft’s 235 patent claims, methinks. So nice of Microsoft to distribute under GPLv3. Hugs and kisses.

    Welcome to the community Microsoft!

    And, credit where it is due – Stafford Masie called it.

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