07.01.07

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Hypocrisy Defined: Microsoft Sponsors Initiative Againt ‘Junk Patents’

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patent Covenant, Patents at 1:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

O’Reilly Radar presents a short overview that takes a look Peer-to-Patent. It is a project which is intended to make patent trolling a thing of the past, among other things. Isn’t it surprising that we find Microsoft among the sponsors? That is the very same company that is said to hijack Linux conferences, then changing their agenda through sponsorship. Like many things — conferences, panels, and programmes included — everything is driven by money, not rationale. Looking closely at this item we find the following argument:

I was impressed to see the list of corporate sponsors (see the logos below). There are some pretty big names there. It’s unsurprising given the rise of technology-licensing companies like Acacia. The bigger companies have the most to lose when it comes to patent lawsuits.

I could not disagree more. Large companies sponsor Peer-to-Patent because they have cash to spare, not because they are the primary target and victim. We already know that small companies fall victim to lobbying and threats from the large companies that can actually afford to file patents and influence decision makers. Have a quick look:

Instead, the report, titled IPR (intellectual property rights) for competitiveness and innovation, was written up almost entirely by large corporations and the patent industry.

[...]

Jean-Pierre Laisne, of ObjectWeb, an open source software community, said that he found the report useless: participants were told that all their contributions would be recorded but at the end only those of Business Software Alliance and Microsoft were used.

Open Sources (at InfoWorld) has more to say on the subject.

I firmly believe that Microsoft’s intellectual business division is executing a well-thought out plan – monetize where possible (Novell), implicitly threaten where monetization is not possible and sow enough uncertainty to slow down those who don’t acquiesce, directly or indirectly, to Microsoft’s licensing pressure.

Returning to the roots of this rant, how dare Microsoft pretend that it combats abuse of the existing, highly-flawed patent system?

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