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10.31.07

It’s Not Over in Europe; WIPO Wants Some More Open Source Whipping

Posted in America, Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents, Samba, Steve Ballmer at 7:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Making a change while still you can

There’s a bit bundle of news pertaining to patents. Here is a quick summary.

Many thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing out the following thread: Open Source != GPL

The thread may be very valuable for future reference covering the EC-Microsoft agreement [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. The reader points out: “If you read up to the end, there yet seems to be some hope that the DG would not accept the Microsoft’s conditions.” He then adds that it is important that we continue to stress points which we so regularly repeat. “It is now precisely when we must keep denouncing the monopoly’s maneuvers and spreading the word in order to raise awareness of the issue,” he concludes.

Mind the following text:

Posted Oct 24, 2007 22:58 UTC (Wed) by rahvin (guest, #16953)
In reply to: Open Source != GPL by dmantione
Parent article: FFII: EU tells open source to start paying MS patent tax

The deal was negotiated in a back room with no presence of any of the plantiffs, of which SAMBA is the sole remaining. This was a brokered deal between Balmer and an EU politico. The license that has already been released requires the patent license to get the interoperability info, you can’t disclose source and you around bound to audits and other incomprehensible terms that completely exclude GPL software.

The EU Politico that negotiated the “settlement” bent over and snatched defeat from victory while listening to the soft promises of Steve Balmer. Just like the US anti-trust was destroyed by political involvement so was the EU case. Mark my words, Samba will issue a statement saying the settlement offers them nothing.

[...]

There is no “deal” or “settlement” in the sense of a document with a signature of Mrs. Kroes below it. There is a “verdict” from DG Competition, and a “verdict” from the EU Court of First Instance, which
requires Microsoft to publish interoperability information, not patent licenses.

Now:
* DG Competition interprets providing the “information” to competitors means any competitors, including open source competitors. Therefore open source compatible terms.
* DG Competition interprets tying patent licenses with the purchase of the “information” as not complying with the verdict, especially as DG Competition considers the Microsoft protocols not innovative, and
therefore has serious doubts on the validity of the patents. However, are outside the scope of the “verdict”.
* As the current situation is Microsoft has agreed with this interpretation. DG Competition has not agreed with Microsofts terms (as of yet).

Elsewhere, in Canada, WIPO seems to be doing its old routine, essentially trying to impose US-style IP laws on the rest of the world. This has not escaped the wrath of the open source community in that area.

The Canadian government’s affirmation for copyright reform in this month’s throne speech could have implications on technological innovation as well as the open source community, according to industry activists.

WIPO seems like a very universal and benign establishment, but recall what we wrote about WIPO couple of days ago. WIPO strives to achieve goal that do not necessarily align with the the consumers’ interests as much as those of funding sources (corporations and governments, which are in turn funded by corporations as well). Free open source software rarely intersects with the agenda of bodies such as WIPO because it’s seen as a threat that makes their role weaker.

Other patent news

The millions of blogs littering the Internet prove that everyone has an opinion. But you won’t often find the general counsel of a major tech company shooting his mouth off about ongoing patent litigation.

America’s computing industry are lining up behind Buffalo Technology to support its appeal against a US import ban of its 802.11a and 802.11g kit.

More than 430 organizations and companies representing over 25 industries have written to Senate leaders criticizing pending legislation to reform the US patent system

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