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:
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.
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. █