Summary: Microsoft’s 10-Q reveals some ugly legal secrets and hundreds of millions of dollars in pending liabilities
EARLIER this month we showed that Microsoft had fired many lawyers and cut the legal budget by 15%. Microsoft even demoted its darling, K&L Gates, and regarding the following news, our reader Oiaohm writes: “more MS money bleeding into useless departments.“
Oiaohm points to this new post from Mary Jo Foley, who shows that “Microsoft had accrued aggregate [legal] liabilities of $700 million and $400 million in other long-term liabilities,” based on Microsoft’s 10-Q. Novell is mentioned as follows:
But there’s been relatively little coverage as of late about what’s going on with the Novell antitrust suit filed in 2004 against Microsoft over WordPefect. In June 2005, the trial court granted Microsoft’s motion to dismiss four of six claims of the complaint. Both parties appealed, and in October 2007, the court of appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, and remanded the case to that court for further proceedings. Fact discovery has closed and summary judgment motions were filed in October 2009
The latest is that a hearing has been set for January 22, 2010, before Judge Motz in the Federal District Court in Baltimore, to present oral arguments on Microsoft’s motion for summary judgment, a Microsoft spokesperson told me late last week.
The 10-Q also mentions “over 50 other patent infringement cases pending against Microsoft, 10 of which are set for trial in fiscal year 2010,” Among those on the list…
“Over 50 other patent infringement cases pending against Microsoft,” eh? Which ones would these be? Microsoft usually tries to prevent these cases from reaching the press. A good example would be i4i [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], which gives reason to invalidate OOXML. Microsoft kept it secret, which was another corrupt move among many others in the OOXML saga. Microsoft still believes that software patents do not apply to it, only to its competitors.
theodp writes “To exist or not to exist: that is the query. That’s what the famous Hamlet soliloquy might look like if subjected to Amazon’s newly-patented System and Method for Marking Content, which calls for ‘programmatically substituting synonyms into distributed text content,’ including ‘books, short stories, product reviews, book or movie reviews, news articles, editorial articles, technical papers, scholastic papers, and so on’ in an effort to uniquely identify customers who redistribute material. In its description of the ‘invention,’ Amazon also touts the use of ‘alternative misspellings for selected words’ as a way to provide ‘evidence of copyright infringement in a legal action.’ After all, anti-piracy measures should trump kids’ ability to spell correctly, shouldn’t they?”
Novell too is still filing applications for more software patents. Here is the latest:
System and method for detecting and preventing attacks to a target computer system , patent No. 7,610,624, invented by Jason Whitman Keith Brothers of Spanish Fork and Peter Dennis Bartok of Orem, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.
Where was Novell when Free software vendors/entities opposed software patents (at the beginning of this month)? Well, Novell’s deeds speak for themselves. █