10.07.09

FSFE Wants the European Commission to Stop Microsoft’s Racketeering

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ping pong

Summary: The FSFE advises the Commission to put an end to Microsoft FUD using unnamed software patents; Eolas sues massively

“Racketeering” is a strong word, but we have already defended its use [1, 2]. What Microsoft does to GNU/Linux vendors may as well be illegal and as was illustrated yesterday, laws are not being enforced unless there is tremendous public pressure.

But in any case, the European Commission is about to finalise a verdict, which the FSFE is worried about as it doesn't go far enough. In another new paper, the FSFE offers advice to the Commission, regarding Microsoft. It ends as follows:

For desktop applications, FSFE argues that the software monopolist must release interoperability information in such a way that it can be used in Free Software. The company must also make a binding commitment not to enforce its patents against Free Software. That would prevent Microsoft from using Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) to keep rivals from making use of the information.

As people recently discovered, Microsoft may be using other companies to attack GNU/Linux and create FUD [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. That too ought to be taken into consideration by the Commission.

The Microsoft site from Ziff Davis writes about Microsoft’s recent dodges from patent law [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The Eolas case which we mentioned in [1, 2] is one that Microsoft did not manage to escape and Eolas has just proceeded to attacking more companies at the usual location.

The complaint, filed in the East Texas city of Tyler…

More information about the case can be found here.

Technology research company Eolas Technolgies, which won a US$520.6 million patent infringement case against Microsoft in 2003, has filed a new patent lawsuit against 22 companies including Adobe Systems, Google, Yahoo, Apple, eBay and Amazon.com.

Intel has meanwhile settled another high-profile case and Groklaw goes through the FSF’s amicus brief, which we mentioned a few days ago.

“Let me make my position on the patentability of software clear. I believe that software per se should not be allowed patent protection. […] We take this position because it is the best policy for maintaining a healthy software industry, where innovation can prosper.” —Douglas Brotz, Adobe Systems, Inc.

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