03.19.08

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Microsoft’s Possible Role in Legalising Software Patents in England

Posted in Boycott Novell at 2:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thanks to the brilliant folks at Digital Majority, the following nugget of information was caught which speaks about Finjan — a firm which was mentioned only yesterday. Finjan, as pointed out earlier, is based in the United Kingdom and it sued over software patents, which remain a so-and-so subject in the country.

Guess who is behind Finjan, at least in part? That’s right. Microsoft.

A U.S. District Court of Delaware jury has found that Secure Computing, and its subsidiaries CyberGuard and Webwasher, infringed three patents that Finjan Software created over the past decade.

[...]

Finjan is partially owned by Microsoft, which purchased a non-exclusive worldwide license for some Finjan patents last year.

Microsoft would love to see software patents legalised everywhere and it’s trying hard to make it so. It uses lobbying arms like Zuck of ACT, among other proxies. At the moment, Brits have nothing to fear regarding the Novell/Microsoft deal, but Microsoft intends to change this, essentially by changing the law overseas.

In other somewhat related news, the software patent question remains unresolved and somewhat fuzzy. Watch the following two reports:

1. Software patents [in the UK] – yet more confusion

The judge drew attention to the split between the attitudes of the UK-IPO and the EPO, since the EPO has already allowed the patent to be granted. However, the UK-IPO has said that it intends to appeal, arguing that the judge failed to use the Aerotel/Macrossan case.

Says the IPKat: and the EPO thinks there’s no divergence of the patentability of computer programs as such…

2. Patentability of computer programs – recent [UK] High Court judgment

A judgment in the case of Symbian’s Patent Application has been issued today by the High Court overturning an earlier decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) to refuse the application because it relates to nothing more than a computer program.

Might Microsoft be trying to set a precedence using companies it owns? We mustn’t forget the likes of Nathan Myhrvold, Acacia and other patent trolls with roots in Microsoft Corporation.

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