Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Resorted to So-called 'Patent Terrorism' Back in 2004

"It's deja vu all over again"

Perhaps this is very obvious and already known to some, but a friend has passed me some links which indicate that anti-Linux patent terrorism goes back to 2004 when Microsoft made unsubstantiated claims.

Use Linux and you will be sued, Ballmer tells governments Lawsuit doom over 228 'stolen' patents predicted

By John Lettice → More by this author Published Thursday 18th November 2004 10:34 GMT

Asian governments using Linux will be sued for IP violations, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said today in Singapore. He did not specify that Microsoft would be the company doing the suing, but it's difficult to read the claim as anything other than a declaration of IP war.

According to a Reuters report (which we fervently hope will produce one of Ballmer's fascinating 'I was misquoted' rebuttals*), Ballmer told Microsoft's Asian Government Leaders Forum that Linux violates more than 228 patents. Come on Steve, don't hold back - what you mean 'more than 228' - 229? 230? Don't pull your punches to soften the blow to the community. "Some day," he continued, "for all countries that are entering the WTO [World Trade Organization], somebody will come and look for money owing to the rights for that intellectual property."


Mary Jo Foley talked about it as well. Rattling sabres while patent trolling is unacceptable behaviour. Meanwhile, the US government appears to defend such behaviour. From yesterday's news:

Bush lets Qualcomm ban stand"

[...]

Qualcomm will appeal a ban on imports of mobile devices that use some of its chips, the company said Monday after the Bush administration declined to reverse the ban.

The U.S. International Trade Commission imposed the ban in response to patent-infringement claims by Broadcom, a rival communications chipmaker.


Microsoft has managed to escape the wrath of patent trolls. News that has just come in indicates that Microsoft won't get stung.

U.S. District Judge Rudi Brewster said in a 43-page order that the jury's damages could not stand because Microsoft had not violated one of the two patents related to MP3 music files at the heart of the case.


Other stories of interest:

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