09.04.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Software Patents Do Not Apply to Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Feuding cups

Summary: Microsoft shakes off the ban on Word and is meanwhile occupied with illegalising Free software globally

TO PUT a twist on the old saying, “what Microsoft wants Microsoft gets.” Given sufficient leverage over the legal system and industry, there is almost nothing that an army of lobbyists cannot achieve very quickly. As expected, Microsoft managed to dodge the Word ban (MSBBC report) and apart from other UK-based publications we were able to find some disinformation. The following legal report, for instance, makes the incorrect assertion that ODF is impacted.

This work was widely interpreted as an effort to forestall adoption of competing formats, such as the Open Document Format, and concerns were raised about whether the Office XML format was severely encumbered by the company’s patents. Despite these fears, Microsoft ultimately saw its efforts succeed. A recently granted patent, however, reveals that the entire effort took place while Microsoft had a patent pending that covers nearly any use of XML for storing word processing documents.

How did the concessions come about? We wrote about the forces at play just over a week ago. The Department of Justice (DOJ), which is filled with former RIAA lawyers, has a role in it. No wonder priorities at the DOJ have turned against the people.

The situation with OOXML is actually worth further exploration too. In relation to another matter, our reader Ryan points out that “people understand that to some degree, it’s why OOXML and WMA aren’t exactly runaway hits with anyone that Microsoft hasn’t leaned on [...] but there are always a few out there that just save to whatever format the program defaults to and then get mad when you’re using, say, Office 2003, and it can’t understand Office 2007 XML [....] it’s not new, Microsoft has been doing that to force upgrades since at least Office 97.”

“There are always a few who always think everything that comes out of Microsoft is god’s own work and perfect as it is,” adds MinceR.

Ryan responds by saying: “I’d say their formats are spread more through ignorance on the part of the user than anyone who intentionally set out to use them. Microsoft is dumping the “back to school” laptops — all have Office 2007 Home and Student Edition on them for free. Microsoft is so desperate to spread OOXML that they’re giving away free copies of it on Best Buy laptops til next month I believe it was.”

Microsoft’s variant of OOXML is a patents-encumbered format and Microsoft is meanwhile working to spread software patents to the rest of the world through so-called “harmonisation” (like the one McCreevy raves about endlessly). Stuart Johnston, a pro-Microsoft journalist, is defending Microsoft’s position, whereas Masnick at TechDirt calls it a “bad idea”.

We’ve already seen that in “harmonizing” copyrights thanks to the Berne Convention that it’s been made much more difficult for countries to correct mistakes (or even admit mistakes) with overly aggressive copyright laws. In fact, it’s created a situation where the only direction copyright law seems to go is towards stronger protection — almost always under claims of a need to “live up to international treaties.” If we created a single global patent system, you’d have that problem on steroids. Rather than being able to experiment and cut back on the excesses and problems of the patent system, the entire world would be stuck with a single system, and any changes to the regulations would be driven by those who benefit most from being able to abuse such monopoly rights.

One person has opined that the ACTA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] may be means of facilitating such “harmonisation”. TechDirt has another long article about how India and China should respond to intellectual monopolies now that the likes of WIPO use them as a suppressor of progress in such emerging economies and largely-populated nations.

The continued development of the knowledge economies in both China and India requires thoughtful, practical policies that will give the needed incentive and capacity to innovators while providing benefits to as many as possible. In contrast to the beliefs of many, further strengthened intellectual property rights are unlikely to provide a positive impact on the economies of China and India. Instead, the two emerging giants should dedicate maximum attention to the other ingredients of a knowledge economy while structuring, to every extent possible under international treaty obligations, their domestic intellectual property regime to provide the optimum balance between incentives and access, bearing in mind that to diffuse the gains from existing innovations, the latter is to be favored.

In summary, Microsoft has proven that is can still get away with serious and deliberate patent infringement [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] while it is also harming the patent systems worldwide.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 24/10/2021: GPS Daemon (GPSD) Bug and Lots of Openwashing

    Links for the day



  2. Links 24/10/2021: XWayland 21.1.3 and Ubuntu Linux 22.04 LTS Daily Build

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, October 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, October 23, 2021



  4. Links 24/10/2021: Ceph Boss Sage Weil Resigns and Many GPL Enforcement Stories

    Links for the day



  5. GAFAM-Funded NPR Reports That Facebook Let Millions of People Like Trump Flout the So-called Rules. Not Just “a Few”.

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  6. Some Memes About What Croatia Means to the European Patent Office

    Before we proceed to other countries in the region, let’s not forget or let’s immortalise the role played by Croatia in the EPO (memes are memorable)



  7. Gangster Culture in the EPO

    The EPO‘s Administrative Council was gamed by a gangster from Croatia; today we start the segment of the series which deals with the Balkan region



  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”

    The EPO‘s circle of corruption in the Balkan region will be the focus of today’s (and upcoming) coverage, showing some of the controversial enablers of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, two deeply corrupt French officials who rapidly drive the Office into the ground for personal gain (at Europe’s expense!)



  9. Links 23/10/2021: FreeBSD 12.3 Beta, Wine 6.20, and NuTyX 21.10.0

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Friday, October 22, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, October 22, 2021



  11. [Meme] [Teaser] Crime Express

    The series about Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" (20 parts thus far) culminates as the next station is the Balkan region



  12. Links 23/10/2021: Star Labs/StarLite, Ventoy 1.0.56

    Links for the day



  13. Gemini on Sourcehut and Further Expansion of Gemini Space

    Gemini protocol is becoming a widely adopted de facto standard for many who want to de-clutter the Internet by moving away from the World Wide Web and HTML (nowadays plagued by JavaScript, CSS, and many bloated frameworks that spy)



  14. Unlawful Regimes Even Hungary and Poland Would Envy

    There’s plenty of news reports about Polish and Hungarian heads of states violating human rights, but never can one find criticism of the EPO’s management doing the same (the mainstream avoids this subject altogether); today we examine how that area of Europe voted on the illegal "Strike Regulations" of Benoît Battistelli



  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group

    The EPO‘s unlawful “Strike Regulations” (which helped Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos illegally crush or repress EPO staff) were supported by only one among 4 Visegrád delegates



  16. [Meme] IBM Has Paid ZDNet to Troll the Community

    Over the past few weeks ZDNet has constantly published courses with the word "master" in their headlines (we caught several examples; a few are shown above); years ago this was common, also in relation to IBM itself; clearly IBM thinks that the word is racially sensitive and offensive only when it's not IBM using the word and nowadays IBM pays ZDNet — sometimes proxying through the Linux Foundation — to relay this self-contradictory message whose objective is to shame programmers, Free software communities etc. (through guilt they can leverage more power and resort to projection tactics, sometimes outright slander which distracts)



  17. [Meme] ILO Designed to Fail: EPO Presidents Cannot be Held Accountable If ILOAT Takes Almost a Decade to Issue a Simple Ruling

    The recent ILOAT ruling (a trivial no-brainer) inadvertently reminds one of the severe weaknesses of ILOAT; what good is a system of accountability that issues rulings on decisions that are barely relevant anymore (or too late to correct)?



  18. Links 22/10/2021: Trump's AGPL Violations and Chrome 95 Released

    Links for the day



  19. [Meme] How Corporate Monopolies Demonise Critics of Their Technically and Legally Problematic 'Products'

    When the technical substance of some criticism stands (defensible based upon evidence), and is increasingly difficult to refute based on facts, make up some fictional issue — a straw man argument — and then respond to that phony issue based on no facts at all



  20. Links 22/10/2021: Global Encryption Day

    Links for the day



  21. [Meme] Speaking the Same Language

    Language inside the EPO is misleading. Francophones Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos casually misuse the word “social”.



  22. António Campinos Thinks Salary Reductions Months Before He Leaves is “Exceptional Social Gesture”

    Just as Benoît Battistelli had a profound misunderstanding of the concept of “social democracy” his mate seems to completely misunderstand what a “social gesture” is (should have asked his father)



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, October 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, October 21, 2021



  24. Links 21/10/2021: MX Linux 21 and Git Contributors’ Summit in a Nutshell

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] [Teaser] Miguel de Icaza on CEO of Microsoft GitHub

    Our ongoing series, which is very long, will shed much-needed light on GitHub and its goals (the dark side is a lot darker than people care to realise)



  26. Gemini Protocol and Gemini Space Are Not a Niche; for Techrights, Gemini Means Half a Million Page Requests a Month

    Techrights on gemini:// has become very big and we’ll soon regenerate all the pages (about 37,500 of them) to improve clarity, consistency, and general integrity



  27. 'Satellite States' of EPO Autocrats

    Today we look more closely at how Baltic states were rendered 'voting fodder' by large European states, looking to rubber-stamp new and oppressive measures which disempower the masses



  28. [Meme] Don't Mention 'Brexit' to Team UPC

    It seems perfectly clear that UPC cannot start, contrary to what the EPO‘s António Campinos told the Council last week (lying, as usual) and what the EPO insinuates in Twitter; in fact, a legal challenge to this should be almost trivial



  29. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States

    How unlawful EPO rules were unsurprisingly supported by Benoît Battistelli‘s friends in Baltic states; António Campinos maintained those same unlawful rules and Baltic connections, in effect liaising with offices known for their corruption (convicted officials, too; they did not have diplomatic immunity, unlike Battistelli and Campinos)



  30. Links 21/10/2021: GIMP 2.99.8 Released, Hardware Shortages, Mozilla Crisis

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts