09.07.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Why Microsoft Still Loves Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Love coffee

Summary: Some of the latest developments in an unnecessary dimension of patents and how they help show that Microsoft needs software patents

EVERY NOW AND then we find an odd suggestion that Microsoft dislikes software patents due to cases like i4i vs Microsoft. It is immensely valuable for Microsoft to give such an impression — basically lobbying for particular laws that bring enormous benefits to itself while the public believes the opposite (and thus does not resent Microsoft). Tax law is another example of that and it relies on the whole “job creation” nonsense (phrases which people love to hear without questioning them, e.g. “patents help increase innovation”).

Microsoft has already produced some very large patent trolls, including Traul [sic] Allen (the recently-emergent example). A columnist at Mercury News considers it to be proof that the USPTO is broken.

If Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen accomplishes nothing else with his wide-ranging lawsuit claiming that almost every major Internet company has stolen his firm’s ideas, at least we can give him credit for reminding us of the troublesome flaws in the U.S. patent system.

Dave Methvin says that Microsoft wins in the Java patents hell storm, which may end without much disruption because the Oracle vs Google case lacks tying to a particular machine. As Wayne puts it:

Another question involves the ‘specific machine’ issue. Pamela Jones wrote about this, and it could be very important. When I read the patents I didn’t see any tie them to a specific machine. The issue surrounds the constantly shifting U.S. Patent rules, which change every time a major patent court case happens. If it is deemed that a patent must be tied to a specific machine, then the patents are invalid, and Oracle looses.

Even if the patents don’t have to be tied to a specific machine, there is a good chance that they will fail, due to the subject matter being predated by something else, or by being ruled obvious, in which case Oracle loses. I’ve read the patents, and the things that they are talking about were implemented at least fifteen to twenty years previously in Unix.

We recently explained how and why Microsoft already makes money from Android [1, 2]. It’s due to software patents, or at least an empty allegation relating to them. “Well, well,” wrote Groklaw, “And here we were wondering why all of a sudden everyone seems to be suing Android. Microsoft would like you to know that they indemnify, and that the Android lawsuits are costly. That is very like what Microsoft said when SCO sued IBM, after Microsoft paid SCO millions, that they would indemnify and that Linux would be plagued by litigation for years.”

“Microsoft would like you to know that they indemnify, and that the Android lawsuits are costly.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
It is true that Microsoft has many software patents, but lots of them are absolutely worthless. As an example we gave the shutdown patent, which has been covered here at least 3 times already [1, 2, 3]. It is still being covered in some Web sites because it helps show lack of ingenuity that passes the USPTO’s tests and the poor quality Microsoft aims for. “This is odd,” Groklaw wrote. “Maybe I’m missing something, but Microsoft has gotten a patent on a “scheme” to shut down an operating system. The claims seem to say that it’s about when you want to shut down, but you forgot you have unsaved work, so in Windows or a Mac, you get prompted to save it if you want. The patent is a system that saves it for you automatically. The patent says, “The following aspects will focus on a Windows based operating system. It will be understood, however, that aspects of the invention will apply similarly to other operating systems including, but not limited to, Mac and Linux based operating systems.

“But Linux has always done this. It’s one of my favorite things about Linux, that if you want to shut down, or even do it by mistake, it saves everything for you. I just wanted to mention it, because if some legal gnome at Microsoft has a “scheme” in mind for this patent, as in $$$ from Linux, this is just to point out that the supremely clueless USPTO just gave Microsoft a patent on something with tons of prior art, unless there is some detail I’m missing.”

In addition to "ActiveSync tax" in Android, Microsoft is also said to be in the position of ‘owning’ simple ideas with digital/physical metaphors such as mail priority (trivial ideas turned digital). “Microsoft had a ‘priority email inbox’ way before Google, and has patents to prove it,” says this one report that’s echoed elsewhere. Well, another little report has the headline “The New Xbox 360 Controller Is Really About Patents [Microsoft Introduces A New Xbox 360 Controller With A New D-Pad That Scoots Around Nintendo Patents]“.

As the Edison story keeps spreading further (now coming to Wired), it is easy to foresee an analogy between Edison’s attitude and Microsoft’s. They both merely exploit the system and take credit for other people’s idea.

Since Microsoft sells many software licences, software patents are crucial to its survival, especially in an age when it can no longer sell much of its own software. To Microsoft’s future software patents are needed and without such patents, software will be freer. Microsoft can’t afford letting software be free (not the same as “open”).

“There’s free software [gratis, dumpware] and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Bill Gates, April 2008

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 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  2. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  3. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  4. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  5. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  6. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  7. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  8. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  9. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  10. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  11. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  12. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  13. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 27, 2021



  15. Links 27/11/2021: Nvidia’s DLSS Hype and Why GNU/Linux Matters

    Links for the day



  16. [Meme] Linus Gabriel Sebastian Takes GNU/Linux for a (Tail)'Spin'

    If you’re trying to prove that GNU/Linux is NOT Windows, then “haha! Well done…”



  17. GNU/Linux is for Freedom and It'll Gain Many Users When (or Where) People Understand What Software (or Computing) Freedom Means

    Software that respects people's freedom (and by extension privacy as well) is an alluring proposition; those who choose to try GNU/Linux for the wrong reasons are likely the wrong target audience for advocates



  18. Amid Reports of Microsoft's Competition Crimes in Europe...

    European companies are complaining, but they seem to overlook the principal aspect of an imperialistic system with bottomless pockets (almost 30 trillion dollars in debt already; US national debt soared again last month); Microsoft is shielded by a political system with military (“defence”) as bailout budget to help cushion international expansion for data grab and technical leverage, as we've seen in the case of EPO (this is all political, not technical, and should thus be treated as a political/corruption issue)



  19. Is Linus Trolling the GNU/Linux Community?

    This new video responds to what many sites have been provoked into amplifying



  20. Links 27/11/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and SeaMonkey 1.1.19 in EasyOS

    Links for the day



  21. [Meme] Keeping Our Distance From Microsoft

    The OSI is the dagger, the Linux Foundation is the knife, and many others are the sword by which Microsoft tries to get into the very heart of GNU/Linux and extinguish the Free software movement



  22. Microsoft Edge Encourages Indebted Americans to Guilt-spend Just in Time for Christmas

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  23. IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, November 26, 2021



  24. 38+ Years of GNU and 19+ Years of FSF Associate Membership

    “On November 25, 2002,” Wikipedia notes, “the FSF launched the FSF Associate Membership program for individuals.” As the above video points out, it all started almost 40 years ago.



  25. Gemini as a Platform for Gamers

    Contrary to what people often assume (or are led to assume), even without client-side scripting Gemini can accomplish a great deal; early adopters, many of whom are technical, test the limits of the very minimalistic (by design and intention) specification



  26. Improved Workflows: Achievement Unlocked

    Today we've completed a bunch of small projects that can make us more efficient (e.g. more Daily Links per day, more articles); the above video was recorded many hours ago to accompany the outline below



  27. Links 26/11/2021: New Complaint About Microsoft Competition Crimes in Europe, EuroLinux 8.5, GhostBSD 21.11.24, and Kiwi TCMS 10.5 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Links 26/11/2021: F35 Elections, Whonix 16.0.3.7, OSMC's November Refresh With Kodi 19.3

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, November 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, November 25, 2021



  30. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, November 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, November 24, 2021


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