Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft's Patent Roadshow and Trolls

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FOR ITS software patents agenda, Microsoft recruited a multitude of cronies and pressure groups inside Europe. Every debate must accommodate someone from Microsoft (or one who represents Microsoft interests) and this Brussels event which took place yesterday was no exception. Look who was there:

Jan Muehlfeit, Chairman Europe, Microsoft Corporation


A few days ago, Acacia returned to the headlines because of its lawsuit against Red Hat -- a lawsuit that was potentially invoked by former Microsoft employees [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. One of our informants found out that Acacia has just successfully extorted another company.

Acacia Research, a developer and licensor of patented technologies, has announced that its Cardio Access subsidiary has entered into a licensing agreement with Edwards Lifesciences, a provider of heart valves and hemodynamic monitoring devices, covering a patent relating to certain medical devices.


For a company to harass another on behalf of a larger company is so not unusual and in fact, the following news article from Information Week shows exactly that.

Apple, Google, IBM and maybe even OLPC are likely to have become victims of Microsoft lawsuits that were carried out via proxies. There are more recent examples and bizarre ones too.

A word that we echoed the other day keeps circulating and suggesting that patent trolls are merely a symptom of an erroneous system. [via Digital Majority]

Here is a well-written piece by Timothy B. Lee at the Cato Institute which focuses on how we can improve the patent system. It points out that patent trolls are merely a symptom of a patent system which is dysfunctional. In addition it touches on VoIP patents and is worth a read if you have interest in our patent system.


Another post which we pointed out a couple of days ago proposed the notion that patents are a "tax on innovation". Mike Masnick has more to say on this matter and he also argues for that disposition that patents do not support independent inventors.

Joe Mullin has written up an interesting post, talking about how almost no patent infringement lawsuits involve accusations that one firm specifically "copied" the other. Traditionally, of course, if you think about intellectual property or the way most people view intellectual property -- and you hear that someone's been accused of patent infringement, their first thought is that the invention was "copied" or (as some incorrectly claim) "stolen." Yet, the evidence suggests that this is rarely, if ever, the case.


Legal issues which relate to Free software and intellectual monopolies that are antithetical to it will soon be soon discussed in a symposium, according to the Chicago Tribune.

New legal developments in free or open-source software licensing and litigation will be addressed at an Open Source Symposium sponsored by Saper Law Offices.


Free software challenges not only a system that contradicts its very right to exist. It also challenges an unethical and dysfunctional framework which even large companies like eBay are protesting against.

"According to Software Magazine, last year we were the 92nd largest software company in the US. My perspective on software patents is simple: stop issuing software patents. Software patents should not exist." —Jerry Fiddler, Wind River Systems

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