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05.24.09

Microsoft Patents Are Not About Collaboration, They Are About Racketeering

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 1:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World match

Summary: Microsoft spins its patent battle against Linux as a positive thing

Microsoft’s patent propaganda textbook is making the rounds and it has just landed on another publication that spouts the Microsoft party line regarding software patents:

Microsoft changed its strategy, opted to collaborate

COLLABORATING with competitors is the way to do business in the fast-changing atmosphere of the early 21st century.

At least that’s what Microsoft Corp. decided over the past decade, according to a new book co-written by the software giant’s vice president for intellectual-property policy and strategy.

It’s not collaboration, it’s simply “racketeering” as Mark Shuttleworth put it on numerous occasions [1, 2]. The above author/reviewer spin this just like Ars Technica did some days ago. Regarding that same article from Ars Technica, Pamela Jones at Groklaw wrote: “This is the same mistake Microsoft has been making for years, thinking it can make the GPL disappear or submit to neutering surgery so it doesn’t multiply. It is what it is, the most popular FOSS license ever, and it will not be going away, so I would suggest a return to the drawing board. Microsoft doesn’t get to decide the license on other people’s work, after all, and so any interoperability strategy has to include figuring out interoperability with the GPL. There is a lot in this book that I would challenge, if I thought it mattered, but other than pointing out the recent lack of cooperation with ODF illustrating Microsoft’s true attitude toward cooperation, suffice it to say I view the book as an IP guy justifying a patent strategy he came up with that cost a lot and now probably won’t pay out, post In Re Bilski.”

There is nothing pleasant or fair about this system of monopolies and it has even led one group or person to creating the “Intellectual Property Asshole Competition.” From Friday:

Roth has launched his “Intellectual Property Asshole Competition” where he is selling, via his website, hand-painted version of both the Mannie Garcia/AP photo and Shepard Fairey’s poster… and will see who is the first to send him a cease and desist. While we never think it’s a good idea to infringe for the sake of infringement, this ought to be fun to watch.

Although it’s about copyrights in this case, patents too pose an issue in other areas. How about this new report which says that “Toshiba licenses patents essential for meeting DVD format specifications”?

How does that facilitate collaboration or competition? It’s about limiting them.

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