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Today’s Lessons on Evil Software Patents and Microsoft Abuse of the System

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents, UNIX at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Accept it or hate it, Microsoft still intends to use software patents for redefining the rules of a game it is losing. Be it welcomed or damned, it is important to fight this battle against ‘contamination’ with software patents, which large companies try to 'inject' into national law worldwide.

Here we present some new items of interest.

Intellectual Idiocy

Along the lines of “dumb wisdom”, let’s consider what makes an “intellectual idiocy”. When applied to things like spurious copyright protection:

In many ways, the human mind is like a computer … it processes information and stores data. Are the memories we have of music; films and books in violation of copyright, because they are stored like computer files in our minds? Should we be legally prohibited from discussing this “content”, for fear of being accused of illegally “distributing” copyrighted material?

The above is a good and warmly recommended post that emerged from a recent discussion. How about this new bit about software patents? [via Digital Majority]

Brad Feld, a venture capitalist, described software patents as an “evil scourge on our planet” that stifle innovation and believes technology has no value by the time it is patented. Feld stated software patents should be abolished and the problems of software patents would be solved with large companies creating patent software commons of cross licensing the patents.

Is THIS Microsoft’s Plan of IMITAT~1^H^HOwning a Superior Competition?

Microsoft loves software patents and its ridiculous portfolio proves this. But it has this annoying obsession of patenting things that Linux/UNIX ‘own’ but never had patented. How about Microsoft's sudo patent? Or this new post from Glyn Moody about Microsoft ‘owning’ system modularity?

One word that has cropped up time and again on this blog is “modularity”. It’s one of the prime characteristics of the open source way – and one of its greatest strengths. Now wonder, then, that Microsoft has finalled cottoned on – helped, no doubt, by the abject failure of its Vista monster


Needless to say, though, even in making this sensible move, Microsoft manages to add a touch of absurdity:

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft already has a patent on a “modular operating system” concept.

A *patent* on modularity? Give me a break….

The patent/application itself a bit old. There are many more examples. For further reading about the concept and the patent consider:

When All Else Fail, Resort to Bullying

Remember patent TrollTracker?

Well, our Web site now contains many broken (outgoing) links since the man’s blog was bullied out of existence. And now it’s BusinessWeek’s turn to tell the story.

Troll Tracker gained repute as a forum for information, not invective. But its more volatile content would eventually combine to blow up the blog and land its creator and Cisco in legal hot water. A reader comment in December contained a death threat against Chicago attorney Raymond Niro Sr., who has long represented trolls. Two Texas attorneys were enraged by Troll Tracker reports suggesting that the lawyers may have had dates altered on a court document—a felony. By the end of last year, Niro had put up a $15,000 bounty to unmask the anonymous blogger, and Internet sleuths had tried to track him.

How truly unacceptable. A known troll [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] resorts to bullying [1, 2, 3].

Rick cited us in the past and it’s awfully sad to see patent trolls not only abusing the system, but abusing people and their careers/employers as well. How can Ray Niro even stare at the mirror under his bridge?

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A Single Comment

  1. SubSonica said,

    March 31, 2008 at 4:22 pm


    Don’t miss this article (rather lenghty but totally recommended) by Glynn Moody quoted by Groklaw:

    Microsoft may have won the ISO battle, but it could well end up losing the rather more important war with the European Commission, which has already shown itself deeply unimpressed with Microsoft’s approach to business.

    Writing to MEPs (if you’re European) or to Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Competition, (if you’re not) is one obvious action we can all take to press for an independent, transparent inquiry into possible irregularities during the OOXML voting process in Europe. But I think there’s something just as important that we need to start doing immediately.

    It is striking that some parts of Microsoft have been making soothing noises to the open source world, speaking of their desire to work alongside free software projects and to ensure “interoperability” – a favourite concept at the moment – between the open and closed worlds. Those voices have become increasingly seductive to some, especially in the open source business world, who would rather work with than against the Seattle behemoth, and who seem to believe that Microsoft is genuine in its offers. But if the whole sorry OOXML saga shows anything, it is Microsoft’s deep and utter contempt for the whole idea of an open, collaborative process based on mutual respect and consensus. Henceforth, members of the open source community must view with deep cynicism all – not just some – offers by Microsoft to work more closely with the free software world. If they don’t, they could find themselves used and abused just like the once famous, and now former, International Standards Organisation.

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