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11.30.09

Patent Tax and Microsoft Tax in Europe: An Update

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tax forms

Summary: A look at the Gemstar case, ACTA-EU leak, Microsoft’s second “TV tax”, and an older video reedited

EARLIER today we mentioned the Gemstar case, but the article cited was in German. The president of the FFII passes around a link to this document [PDF], which is a leak. He claims that it “shows they are trying to include patents in the ACTA treaty.”

The EU is “trying to define “non-commercial hyperlink” in leaked ACTA position paper,” he adds later. But more importantly perhaps, he also found this report in English about the Gemstar decision. It opens as follows:

Virgin Media has succeeded in the patent dispute brought against it by Gemstar TV Guide. The London High Court rulings call into question the ability for intellectual property rights holder Rovi to enforce its patents both in the UK and with operators around the world.

Gemstar, now part of Rovi, had claimed the cablenet’s EPG had breached three patents – EP 0969662, EP 1377049 and EP 1613066 – which were involved in the display and transfer of programme information and metadata. BSkyB, Foxtel, Portugal Telecom, Sky Italia and UPC Broadband have all signed up to Rovi’s patent programme.

What will be the final verdict about this patent parasite, which is going after cable companies everywhere? Virgin Media seems safe in the UK. And speaking of which, one of our readers argues that “Microsoft [may want] to charge UK TV License payers twice”

Here is the reasoning in a nutshell:

You may be a UK license payer, but that means nothing to Microsoft. (IMO)

Xbox 360 owners who were hoping for a BBC iPlayer experience may have to hold off a little longer (or maybe even for good).

In my opinion the following comment made allegedly by a source close to the BBC shows exactly how Microsoft likes to operate. How much money can it make out of a product? As much as people will blindly shell out! (IMO)

[...]

It could be said (and its my opinion) that Microsoft never really grasped the online TV market. Since ITV and Channel 4 both dumped Silverlight, that must have been a cutting blow to them, Microsoft didn’t even seem to see the potential in the Bluray, opting instead for the HDvd and then getting burnt when it lost to Bluray. Microsoft mainstay in the home? I don’t think so.

UK taxpayers have already paid hefty bills to Microsoft, for the development of a Windows-only BBC iPlayer.

Going back to FFII’s president, he has also just done some cropping of an older video to show that “Nellie Kroes [is] strengthening Microsoft monopoly with software patents”

We have the full video (as Ogg) right here. Nellie Kroes is now removed from Competition Commissioner chair, so it remains to be seen how Joaquin Almunia succeeds.

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A Single Comment

  1. dyfet said,

    November 30, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Gravatar

    When I look at the part that deals with non-commercial hyperlinks is really about an effort to change the Internet from a place where free speech abounds to one where only commercial speech would be legally tolerated. I think it is something that should have been far more expanded on in this article beyond a simple passing reference, and with no link :).

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