07.31.08

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Microsoft Starts Suing Companies Over Patents

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Patents at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Defensive schmifensive

Microsoft has found itself under more financial stress than ever before in recent years [1, 2]. Licensing company appears to be its vocation, just as some experts already predict. The following news is supporting evidence of this.

Microsoft said it has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission after failing to be able to negotiate a licensing deal with Primax Electronics. In the complaint, Microsoft is seeking an order barring Primax from importing infringing products into the United States.

This is significant. It’s quite a new thing for Microsoft to attack smaller companies using its questionable intellectual monopolies. Mr. Bishop has some more details.

Microsoft also is expected to file suit in U.S. District Court, seeking damages.

The next time Microsoft sheds crocodile tears, claiming it is the biggest victim of patents, bring up this development. Microsoft is among the attackers and it’s clearly a part of this problem. It’s aggressive enough to go as far as an embargo. This is a monopolistic embargo and by no means the same as a reactionary embargo to crime and abuse.

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4 Comments

  1. Saul Goode said,

    July 31, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Gravatar

    To be fair (?), the cited infringement lawsuit is over a hardware patent. Microsoft has sued over hardware patents in the past. To my knowledge, they have never actually sued over a software patent (though they are notorious for wielding them as a threat).

    I don’t think this development constitutes evidence of a change in MS policy. They remain reluctant to do anything (such as actually bringing suit) which might bring into question the viability of software patents. They might even prefer losing software patent infringement cases rather than lose having patents to threaten customers and to restrict competition from smaller upstart rivals — what’s a few hundred million in penalties if it lets you retain a stranglehold on an entire industry.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    July 31, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Gravatar

    They don’t need to sue to get their RoI in software patents. They not only cross-license these, but they also get a money-flow going in one direction thanks to them.

    Remember that some patent trolls can make a lot of money without ever going to court. How about Intellectual Ventures, which you can almost synonimise with a Microsoft spin-off? It pretends to be benevolent because it pressures (extorts), not sues.

    Bark vs bite. Both are harmful.

  3. twitter said,

    December 18, 2008 at 9:30 am

    Gravatar

    It is now fair to say that M$ itself saw this as something different from it’s previous barking dog self. They won and did a little damage control dance:

    “We’re not a company that’s prone to offensive patent litigation,” said Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing. “In fact we’ve done it only in very exceptional cases, I would say to a much lesser degree than most other companies in the technology industry.”

    The only question now is whether this is the bite that proves the bark, or another sign of the M$ death spiral. Given the other evidence, I’d say death spiral. The confident monopolist of 10 years ago would never have bothered.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    December 18, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Gravatar

    Even when Microsoft attacks it’s the victim. This reminds me of the Bush administration.

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