EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

09.04.09

Software Patents Do Not Apply to Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Feuding cups

Summary: Microsoft shakes off the ban on Word and is meanwhile occupied with illegalising Free software globally

TO PUT a twist on the old saying, “what Microsoft wants Microsoft gets.” Given sufficient leverage over the legal system and industry, there is almost nothing that an army of lobbyists cannot achieve very quickly. As expected, Microsoft managed to dodge the Word ban (MSBBC report) and apart from other UK-based publications we were able to find some disinformation. The following legal report, for instance, makes the incorrect assertion that ODF is impacted.

This work was widely interpreted as an effort to forestall adoption of competing formats, such as the Open Document Format, and concerns were raised about whether the Office XML format was severely encumbered by the company’s patents. Despite these fears, Microsoft ultimately saw its efforts succeed. A recently granted patent, however, reveals that the entire effort took place while Microsoft had a patent pending that covers nearly any use of XML for storing word processing documents.

How did the concessions come about? We wrote about the forces at play just over a week ago. The Department of Justice (DOJ), which is filled with former RIAA lawyers, has a role in it. No wonder priorities at the DOJ have turned against the people.

The situation with OOXML is actually worth further exploration too. In relation to another matter, our reader Ryan points out that “people understand that to some degree, it’s why OOXML and WMA aren’t exactly runaway hits with anyone that Microsoft hasn’t leaned on [...] but there are always a few out there that just save to whatever format the program defaults to and then get mad when you’re using, say, Office 2003, and it can’t understand Office 2007 XML [....] it’s not new, Microsoft has been doing that to force upgrades since at least Office 97.”

“There are always a few who always think everything that comes out of Microsoft is god’s own work and perfect as it is,” adds MinceR.

Ryan responds by saying: “I’d say their formats are spread more through ignorance on the part of the user than anyone who intentionally set out to use them. Microsoft is dumping the “back to school” laptops — all have Office 2007 Home and Student Edition on them for free. Microsoft is so desperate to spread OOXML that they’re giving away free copies of it on Best Buy laptops til next month I believe it was.”

Microsoft’s variant of OOXML is a patents-encumbered format and Microsoft is meanwhile working to spread software patents to the rest of the world through so-called “harmonisation” (like the one McCreevy raves about endlessly). Stuart Johnston, a pro-Microsoft journalist, is defending Microsoft’s position, whereas Masnick at TechDirt calls it a “bad idea”.

We’ve already seen that in “harmonizing” copyrights thanks to the Berne Convention that it’s been made much more difficult for countries to correct mistakes (or even admit mistakes) with overly aggressive copyright laws. In fact, it’s created a situation where the only direction copyright law seems to go is towards stronger protection — almost always under claims of a need to “live up to international treaties.” If we created a single global patent system, you’d have that problem on steroids. Rather than being able to experiment and cut back on the excesses and problems of the patent system, the entire world would be stuck with a single system, and any changes to the regulations would be driven by those who benefit most from being able to abuse such monopoly rights.

One person has opined that the ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] may be means of facilitating such “harmonisation”. TechDirt has another long article about how India and China should respond to intellectual monopolies now that the likes of WIPO use them as a suppressor of progress in such emerging economies and largely-populated nations.

The continued development of the knowledge economies in both China and India requires thoughtful, practical policies that will give the needed incentive and capacity to innovators while providing benefits to as many as possible. In contrast to the beliefs of many, further strengthened intellectual property rights are unlikely to provide a positive impact on the economies of China and India. Instead, the two emerging giants should dedicate maximum attention to the other ingredients of a knowledge economy while structuring, to every extent possible under international treaty obligations, their domestic intellectual property regime to provide the optimum balance between incentives and access, bearing in mind that to diffuse the gains from existing innovations, the latter is to be favored.

In summary, Microsoft has proven that is can still get away with serious and deliberate patent infringement [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] while it is also harming the patent systems worldwide.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. IBM (Red Hat) Lectured FSF That It Needed More Diversity, But Was It Looking at the Mirror? IBM and Red Hat Are Even Less Diverse.

    Techrights examines Red Hat’s (IBM’s) hypocritical claims about the Free Software Foundation, founded by Richard Stallman back when IBM was the “big scary monopolist”; IBM employees were prominent among those pushing to oust Stallman from the GNU Project, which he founded, as well



  2. IRC Proceedings: Friday, June 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, June 05, 2020



  3. Guix Petition Demographic Data, by Figosdev

    That old anti-RMS letter, which called for his removal (or resignation) from GNU (RMS is the founder of the GNU Project), as characterised by metadata of signatories



  4. When You Realise People Who Don't Support RMS Do Not Really Support GNU, Either

    The (in)famous letter against Richard Stallman (RMS), which was signed by many Red Hat employees with Microsoft (GitHub) accounts, doesn’t look particularly good in light of recent revelations/findings; it increasingly looks like IBM simply wants Microsoft-hosted and “permissively” licensed stuff, just like another project it announced yesterday and another that it promoted yesterday



  5. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part III: What Happens When You Tell the Truth About Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

    One might not expect this from a so-called 'charity'; the Gates Foundation's critics are often met with unprecedented aggression, threats and retribution, which make one wonder if it's really a charity or a greedy cult of personalities (Bill and Melinda)



  6. Links 6/6/2020: Bifrost Meets GNOME, Wine 5.10 is Out

    Links for the day



  7. Links 5/6/2020: LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.3, Rust 1.44.0, and Hamburg's Pivot to Free/Libre Software

    Links for the day



  8. This Article About GitHub Takeover Never Appeared (Likely Spiked by Microsoft and Its Friends Inside the Media)

    And later they wonder why people distrust so much of the media (where paying advertisers set the agenda/tone)



  9. Raw: How Microsoft and/or the EPO Killed an Important EPO Story About Their SLAPP Against Techrights and Others

    Spiking a story about spiked stories about corruption



  10. The Linux Foundation 'Bootcamp' -- Badly Timed and Badly Named in June 2020 -- Only Uses Linus Torvalds Like a 'Prop' (for Legitimacy) While Promoting Militarised Monopolies

    Sometimes a picture says a lot more than words, especially in light of political events in the US and a certain Chinese anniversary we cannot name (Microsoft censors mentions of it)



  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, June 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, June 04, 2020



  12. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part II: When Media That You Bribe Calls All Your Critics 'Conspiracy Theorists' (to Keep Them Silenced, Marginalised)

    The assault on the media by Bill Gates is a subject not often explored by the media (maybe because a lot of it is already bribed by him); but we're beginning to gather new and important evidence that explains how critics are muzzled (even fired) and critical pieces spiked, never to see the light of day anywhere



  13. GitHub is Not Sharing But 'Theft' by Microsoft

    Microsoft buying GitHub does not demonstrate that Microsoft loves Open Source (GitHub is not Open Source and may never be) but that it loves monopoly and coercion (what GitHub is all about and why it must be rejected)



  14. The Huge Damage (Except for Patent Lawyers' Bottom Line) Caused by Fake European Patents

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps granting fake patents that cause a lot of real harm (examiners are pressured to play along and participate in this unlawful agenda); nobody is happy except those who profit from needless, frivolous lawsuits



  15. Red Hat/IBM Got 'Tired' of RMS. Is It Getting 'Tired' of GPL/Copyleft Too?

    After contributing to the cancellation of Richard Stallman (RMS) based on some falsehoods perpetuated in the media we're seeing the sort of thing one might expect from IBM (more so now that it totally controls Fedora and RHEL)



  16. Links 4/6/2020: Proton 5.0-8 Release Candidate, GNU Linux-libre 5.7

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, June 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, June 03, 2020



  18. Social Engineering of Free Software, Based on Corporate Criteria

    What "professional" nowadays means in the context of coding and honest assessment of technical work



  19. Weakening GNU/Linux by Disempowering Its Leaders and Founders, Replacing Them With Microsoft Employees and GNU/Linux-Hostile Moles

    The coup to remove (or remove power from) Stallman and Torvalds, the GNU and Linux founders respectively, is followed by outsourcing of their work to Microsoft’s newly-acquired monopoly (GitHub) and appointment of Microsoft workers or Microsoft-friendly people, shoehorning them into top roles under the disingenuous guise of "professionalism"



  20. Sword Group Violates Its Own Commitment by Working for the EPO

    The European Patent Office (EPO) keeps outsourcing its work to outside contractors (for-profit private entities) to the tune of hundreds of millions if not billions — all this without any oversight



  21. In 2020 Canonical No Longer Fights for Freedom

    Freedom requires a GNU/Linux distro other than Ubuntu, which seems unwilling or unable/incapable of speaking about and promoting the ideals of GNU/Linux



  22. We Need to Use the F Word (Freedom) to Promote Adoption of GNU/Linux

    "People get the government their behavior deserves. People deserve better than that." -Richard Stallman



  23. People Who Want to Explore GNU/Linux With Ubuntu See This Today

    "Wait, am I in a GNU/Linux blog or another Windows blog," a visitor might think... or, is Microsoft 'taking over' messaging at Canonical? (Same with code)



  24. Links 4/6/2020: Septor 2020.3, Nextcloud and Blender 2.83

    Links for the day



  25. Hey, Where's Red Hat (IBM)?

    Red Hat is conspicuously silent at these critical times (in its home country); Must be too busy hailing and cashing in on Trump's military (state) while dishing out shallow and self-contradictory diversity PR/fluff…



  26. Microsoft's Latest Vapourware About Supercomputers

    Microsoft has spent almost two decades dropping supercomputers vapourware on the media, but those misinformation dumps always turn out to be 100% hot air, no substance



  27. 2020: A Time for Resolutions or Revolutions?

    There are nonviolent means by which the current system can be corrected; we need to convince peers and relatives to change the way they behave and not cooperate with unjust elements of the system



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, June 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, June 02, 2020



  29. The Gates Press (GatesGate) -- Part I: Lost the Job After Writing an Article Critical of Bill Gates for Attacking Some Actual, Legitimate Charities (Because They Had Spread GNU/Linux)

    The sociopaths from the fake 'charity' of Bill Gates would go to great lengths to squash criticism and also to eliminate critics; this series tells the story of some of those personally affected



  30. Don't Fall for the Spin, Microsoft is Laying Off Workers and It's Not Just Because of the Pandemic




RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts