04.04.08

Microsoft’s Software Patent Injection and Other Insanities

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Open XML at 8:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today… some large company will patent some obvious thing… take as much of our profits as they want.”

Bill Gates (more here)

A few moments ago, as well as in previous writeups [1, 2, 3], we mentioned how Microsoft buys compliance and consent for its anti-standards. It is a very unoriginal strategy and sometimes it is far too shallow to conceal.

Apache and Microsoft’s Software Patents

That bit of work Microsoft did with Sourcesense in order to portray Apache as pro-OOXML has not been forgotten. Its role might affect not only ISO’s decision but also Microsoft’s software patent strategy against Free software. Have a look at this possibility of a patent ambush.

According to the announcement, Microsoft and Sourcesense will contribute code implementing OOXML to the Apache POI project. Since POI is being licensed under the Apache License, version 2.0, contributors are required to grant a patent license, which Microsoft has so far refused to do for OOXML. I think there are two possible outcomes: either we get a patent license through POI, or Microsoft may even introduce more patented code into the project (aka “patent ambush”).

OOXML’s software patents affect not only this project (if at all), but Microsoft remains dishonest on the issue.

We have some other concerns about Apache, which are not related to software patents at all [1, 2, 3].

Eastern District of Texas

It is difficult to have respect for a district which stands out from the crowd by harbouring patent trolls. Digital Majority has found this good bit of audio from a law school lecture in eastern Texas. There are bits in it about the flourishing patent ‘business’ and also a discussion about software patents.

9:10 – How did the Eastern District of Texas come to be known as the Rocket Docket for patent cases?

A new example of this [via Digital Majority] was supplied also.

I2 alleges that the German enterprise software giant infringed seven of its patents related to supply-chain management. A preliminary hearing on the claim is scheduled for April 30 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

What a wonderful place to sue even European companies.

Intellectual Monopolisation Meets Clothing

If you thoughts software patents were bad, watch this. [via Glyn Moody]

Fashion Designers Turning To Patents To Protect Their Designs (And Kill The Industry]

[...]

After all, here was a highly competitive, extremely profitable, exceptionally innovative creative industry — and it was doing all that without copyright protection. It seemed to show quite the opposite of what many in the entertainment industry predicted would happen without copyrights. Unfortunately, though, the lessons seemed to go in the other direction. The fashion industry got jealous of the entertainment industry’s ability to crack down on innovation with copyrights and pushed Congress to introduce new legislation that would add a copyright for fashion design. Recently such laws have been getting a big push from politicians who are pandering to the fashion industry. Of course, studies have shown that the very reason the industry has thrived was because the lack of IP protection. In fact, one bit of research showed that adding IP protections to fashion could kill the industry.

You can hopefully see the role of politics. There is nothing ethical in these debates, which are mainly self-serving (they serve wealthy monopolies, not newcomers).

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2008/04/04/ooxml-software-patent-ambush/

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