07.11.09

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Microsoft Wants to ‘Save’ the World, Using Restrictive Monopolies

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 8:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Auschwitz

Summary: Bill Gates’ Searete is looking to make money from natural disasters

IT HAS been a long time since we last wrote about Searete, which is Bill Gates’ very own patent-trolling firm [1, 2, 3]. As the Gates-backed Intellectual Ventures demonstrates, these sleeping giant trolls sooner or later go offensive and proceed to extortion. It is with that in mind that we look at this report from a Microsoft-sponsored source (thus spinning in Microsoft’s favour). Glyn Moody has a more proper interpretation of this report. He says that Bill Gates is monetising life and death once again, this time using bizarre patents.

Just one problemette: he’s [Bill Gates] decided to patent the idea, along with his clever old chum Nathan Myhrvold.

The filings were made by Searete LLC, an entity tied to Intellectual Ventures, the Bellevue-based patent and invention house run by Nathan Myhrvold, the former Microsoft chief technology officer. Myhrvold and several others are listed along with Gates as inventors.

After all, can’t have people just going out there and saving thousands of lives without paying for the privilege, can we?

Here is a detailed overview of Microsoft's journey towards patents as a business model. It has already kicked into gear now that Linux is forced to waste time working around software patents. From the news:

i. Linux community codes around Microsoft’s FAT patents

In early 2009, open-source luminary Larry Augustin urged the Linux community to “get the FAT out.” While Tridgell’s approach doesn’t quite do this, it does appear to obviate Microsoft’s patent claims.

This should make Linux users happy. Whether it will make Microsoft happy to see how trivial it is to code around its patent claims remains to be seen. That’s the problem with launching nuclear marketing attacks against the legal integrity of open-source code: given enough eyeballs, all patent claims are shallow.

ii. Can FAT patch avoid Microsoft lawsuits?

Andrew Tridgell has published a patch that could make the Linux implementation of the FAT filesystem impervious to Microsoft patent claims of the kind that forced a settlement from TomTom. The patch alters the VFAT code so that it does not generate both short and long filenames, says Tridgell.

At Microsoft, “innovation” means interfering with competitors’ product development and making money on the side by putting people’s life at risk [1, 2, 3]. So how can anyone not trust Microsoft? Microsoft said FAT was safe, but it lied. Take note, Mono apologists.

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4 Comments

  1. Robert Z. Cashman said,

    July 12, 2009 at 1:52 am

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    It’s both surprising and not surprising to me that IV is said to have gone offensive, especially with the recent Intuit license that has everyone in a frenzy.

    I thought the whole purpose of IV/RPX was to form a patent protection conglomerate to protect against frivolous lawsuits claiming patent infringement when there was none. The purchase of all those patents as far as I understood was for the use of member companies (those who paid to join in) to defeat those claims that ordinarily would cost companies millions.

    I’m not so quick to start calling Intellectual Ventures a super-troll. There is probably a lot going on there behind closed doors. Some good may come of it.

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    But good to whom?

    Robert Z. Cashman Reply:

    It’s assumed in the blogworld that IV is evil and that Nathan M. is public troll #1. I keep wondering in the back of my mind, what if he is up to good rather than no good.

    Everybody agrees that there are serious kinks in the patent laws and that the USPTO is backlogged until Moshiach comes. ;) There IS a hole in the system regarding people being able to enforce patents they did not invent. This is one of the big holes IV is exploiting.

    The thought is — what if they’re trying to gather enough political clout to force a change in the law? What if as the biggest potential troll in the world, they are able to eradicate the patent system from all other trolls? What if they are trying to bring justice to the system (in a socialistic kind of way which I don’t quite understand or support) by bringing huge companies down to their knees?

    There is a lot of money behind those patent conglomerate companies, and they’re obviously doing it for some reason. G-d knows they own enough patents to cripple the patent litigation system forever with valid (not frivolous) lawsuits should they choose to. It would take a flick of a pen and we could say goodbye to the system as it is now.

    How’s that for an apocalyptic view of the patent litigation system and those who hold the true power of it? ;)

    Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I think OIN had the purpose you have in mind. :-)

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