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02.21.08

Microsoft, Siemens and Phillips Named for Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 9:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Novell

The recent news from England was discouraging and so was the discovery that Nokia, the new owner of Qt, is a key pusher for software patents in Europe. Then there is Sun Microsystems and its ambivalent approach to patents (lately it also nicked FOSS companies like Innotek and MySQL AB).

The heavy legalised bribery (aka “lobbying”) by no means helps (remember Microsoft’s blackmailing of the Danish government [1, 2]) and the next post will explore Microsoft’s new ‘promise’ and ‘goodwill’. Before we get to that, consider this new interview with Pieter Hintjens. the former president of FFII [via Digital Majority].

To be honest, the software sector, especially in the states, has been unable to take a solid position against software patents. Red Hat have been a long supporter of our cause, and I want to thank them for that. Sun… well, they seem unwilling to upset Microsoft, and Microsoft has been pushing hellbent for software patents in Europe, along with Siemens and Phillips, despite the fact that MS is the number one victim of software patent troll attacks in the USA. At a recent conference I attended, a Sun spokesman declared that trademarks were more of a threat to free software than software patents. Very freaky!

The day that the software sector forms a clear front against software patents, as pharma does for a unitary patent system (where all industries are blighted by the same 20-year patent model), will be the day our cause comes close to winning.

Another noteworthy articles is this one which demands change for the sake of the VoIP industry, where Linux and Free software are increasingly prevalent by the way.

The $250 million Vonage burned through as a result of the patent lawsuit brought by Verizon et al provides yet another example of why patents for business processes implemented on computers (a.k.a. software patents) deserve to die. Verizon’s two successful “name translation” patents negate an open standard assembled by Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Vocaltec via the VoIP Forum during 1996. The threat of patent litigation cleared the landscape of independent VoIP companies the VoIP Forum sought to make possible.

Added below is an article which demonstrated that even Microsoft knows software patents are absurd. With that in mind, let’s explore (in the next post) what Microsoft enthusiatically prepared the press for, calling it “big news” in order to create unjustified hype (confusion) and get unsuspecting minds excited just ahead of OOXML’s acid test.

Older article of interest:

Microsoft Wins in Supreme Court; AT&T Ruling Overturned

In a stunning 7-1 decision with extremely broad implications in the field of patents and patentability, the US Supreme Court has overturned a Federal Circuit ruling that was in favor of AT&T, and has apparently affirmed Microsoft’s arguments that software coupled with the device on which the software is installed cannot be considered patentable.

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