05.06.11

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Microsoft Still Uses Nokia to Attack Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia vampire

Summary: “Nokia will receive substantial payments from Microsoft for patents,” reports Reuters amid many patent lawsuits against Android; Red Hat is meanwhile acknowledging that it pays patent trolls like Acacia to go away and the OIN grows larger

“AS expected,” we argued a few days ago, Microsoft is using Nokia’s patents to hinder the adoption of Android, which is generally winning the platforms battle even in the United States. All that Google believes it can do now is gather many patents, but it is a futile exercise since Microsoft sends patent trolls to attack Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and it also sent out a mole to give Ballmer Nokia's car keys. According to this new report from Reuters (which has covered a lot of Nokia stories since 2008 at least):

Nokia will receive substantial payments from Microsoft for patents

For the uninitiated, Nokia is a European company which is partly responsible for the emergence of some software patents in Europe, as we have explained for years [1, 2, 3].

Stefano Maffulli thinks that “we won the battle against software patents”, but we do not consider it to be the case yet. Here is the core part of his new argument:

During the long march to reject the directive on ‘computer implemented inventions’ we put the issue of software patents in front of millions of Europeans, thousands of small businesses and hundreds of MEPs. We convinced the majority of MEPs to reject, for the first time ever, a Directive approved by the Council. We started a debate about the threats to innovation posed by patents and we made sure the business community knew about the risks to their activity. The issues of patents on software and math are now visible to all those affected in the business community: entrepreneurs, small-and medium-size businesses and big business.

The business community at large is the ultimate victim of software patents. With trolls constantly at work, all companies face potential damage. Companies, small and big, are now aware of the problem and the debate about how to fix it is now a fire that burns on its own. Academics publish a lot more papers and research projects demonstrating that the current patent system is broken and dysfunctional and may be harming economic development of the US.

If we won the battle against software patents, then how come Red Hat is still being extorted by Acacia? Red Hat’s CEO has just pretty much confirmed that it is happening, in an interview with a Microsoft booster:

Red Hat CEO hates patent trolls, but says sometimes you just have to pay up

With Red Hat on the verge of becoming the first billion-dollar company focused exclusively on open source software, it has attracted quite a bit of attention — from lawyers waving patents.

Red Hat doesn’t need a legal team as big as Microsoft’s, but it does spend a lot of time in court, particularly in the Eastern District of Texas, a hotbed of patent lawsuits filed by what Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and others call “patent trolls.”

The OIN has just added another member [1, 2], but it is not entirely clear (if at all) what it can ever do about patent trolls. A few years back the OIN wanted to arrange for us to interview their CEO. When we sent the questions to be asked and these included hard questions about the futility of this strategy in the face of patent trolls the OIN simply cancelled the very same interview it had sought to set up. Now, how about that? The fight against software patents is not won until all software patents are voided or proven to be useless in court. We are not there yet. There are no “good” patents and “bad” patents. Regulators ought to step in and dismantle patent cartels.

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