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05.14.08

Microsoft’s Latest Patent Cross-Licensing Deal and Software Patents in the EU

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 11:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we alerted about the latest attempt to shove software patents into Europe. It’s a back-door technique and Benjamin has more on this subject in the following slideshow. He has also been pointing to articles such as this one because Microsoft’s appeal in Europe, he believes, is more than it seems on the surface.

At the EC’s behest, Microsoft makes such information available to competitors, but on terms that the EC argues are unusable by open source software projects. Microsoft argues that the licensing terms demanded by the EC violate its intellectual property rights.

Benjamin opined that the appeal from Microsoft has its eyes on taxing Free software. Microsoft has meanwhile signed another patent cross-licensing deal, this time with Hoya Pentax.

Monday morning, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) revealed that it has signed a patent cross-licensing agreement with Hoya Corp. PENTAX Imaging Systems division. Pursuant to the deal, the companies have agreed to enhance technological innovation in the field of consumer products including digital cameras. Though the companies have agreed that Microsoft will be compensated by Pentax, no financial terms were disclosed. The deal would help each company in developing their current and future product lines to enhance technological innovation and to boost overall customer and consumer experience. The deal will cover the entire product line manufactured and sold by both the companies, particularly the digital cameras made by Pentax.

Quick search queries seem not to reveal any use of Linux by Hoya Pentax.

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

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6 Comments

  1. Alex H. said,

    May 15, 2008 at 6:26 am

    Gravatar

    You would be surprised at the number of patents some firms have.

    Sun famously signed a patent agreement with Kodak for Java of all things; not surprising that Pentax might have patents too…

  2. Dan O'Brian said,

    May 15, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Gravatar

    Indeed. Anyone familiar with the tech industry is aware that every company (including Red Hat) in the US (I can’t speak for companies outside of the US) encourages their developers to file patents as often as they can.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    May 15, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Gravatar

    Yes, but how does that relate to the point of this post at all?

  4. Alex H. said,

    May 15, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Gravatar

    The point is surely that cross-licensing is becoming increasingly necessary for companies in the US?

  5. Roy Bixler said,

    May 15, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Gravatar

    I thought the point of the article is that software patents are undesirable because they have the effect of taxing or even prohibiting FLOSS.

  6. Alex H. said,

    May 15, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Gravatar

    It’s not free software if there is a patent royalty on it.

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