05.30.07

New Articles on Novell and Patents (Updated)

Posted in Novell, Patents at 3:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Having made some documents available, the main discussion revolves around how Novell’s deal affects patents (and what Novell intends to do about them). Here is a collection of articles that cover this issue.

Eben Moglen: MS should remove patents from Novell agreement (video)

In this segment of our week-long series of video excerpts from our interview with Professor Eben Moglen at last week’s Red Hat Summit in San Diego, he explains why it could be disastrous for Microsoft to continue the patent aggression that is part of their Novell agreement.

Kill the patents, kill the problem

Whatever Novell’s motivations in its dealing with Microsoft and subsequently with the EFF, the fact remains that if software patents are shown to be the harmful and counterproductive mistake we believe them to be, the industry will benefit in many ways. The community must remain united with this in mind. Nothing else matters.

The Patent Puzzle

Patent fights are fights about money. The secondary issue, the one that makes the headlines, is control. To really understand what’s going on in the current patent posturing involving Microsoft, Novell, and a host of open-source companies and groups, it helps to keep those factors firmly in mind.

Novell Tries Striking Delicate Balance on Patents

So when Microsoft claimed Linux and some of its open source programs violate 235 of its patents last week – and held up its agreement with Novell as the template for the royalty payments it wants from everybody – Novell must have wanted to hide under the bed wrapped in a flame mail-retardant blankie.

Novell: GPLv3 Could Be Risky Business [to Novell, not to Linux]

The FSF believes that the patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell, in which both parties agree not to sue each other’s customers for patent violations, is a collusion that undermines the goals of the FSF. GPLv3 is designed to prevent other such agreements from occurring between patent holders and open source distributors.

On a related note, here are a few other new articles that talks about patents and their morbid effect.

Nokia says patent dispute hurts 3G

The success of 3G phone technology is being put at risk by a patent dispute between Nokia and Qualcomm, Nokia said today.

aQuantive is not a Microsoft open source play

Given that software patents are not accepted in Europe (or most of the rest of the world) it means enforcing Microsoft’s patents would impose an enormous burden on the American economy, and on America’s global competitiveness.

UK firms contest ‘absurd’ software patent ruling

The five companies, Astron Clinica Limited, Cyan Holdings Plc, Inrotis Technologies Limited, Software 2000 Limited and Surf Kitchen argue variously that the IPO is stifling British entrepreneurship, forcing UK firms to apply for patents outside the UK, and putting British inventors at a disadvantage.

Further analysis at Groklaw:

Worst-Case Scenario or Sure Shot? – More on the Novell-MS Deal

So, the way this all adds up to my understanding is that it’s certain to happen. It’s not just a worst-case scenario. It’s a train coming straight at Microsoft’s patent threats, and I’m guessing Microsoft is trying to figure out how to untie itself from the track. No doubt Microsoft will in time address the matter and say something, but I can’t help but think that the current “but we never meant to rattle our patent saber” talk may stem from an awareness that the game is over, or at least this part of the game.

Update: the Eben Moglen video is now up for viewing in embedded form.

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