Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Will Not Comply with Software Patents But Will Eventually Comply with the GPL

“No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.”

--Abraham Lincoln



Summary: Internal E-mails reveal Microsoft snubbing software patents

PREVIOUS posts on the subject [1, 2] showed that Microsoft would appeal to overrule the verdict which put a ban on Microsoft Word (not effective immediately and only applicable in the United States).



As evidence shows, Microsoft not only resorted to arrogance but it also engaged in a form of civil disobedience.

Microsoft officials developing versions of Word that will be banned for sale in sixty days unless the company settles a patent lawsuit or wins an appeal were aware of the plaintiff's product and threatened to make it "obsolete," e-mail records connected to the case reveal.


Also see the following posts about i4i and Microsoft:

  1. Microsoft Accused of “Willful and Deliberate” infringement and “Discovery Misconduct” in Another Patent Case
  2. Reader Explains “Microsoft Innovation”


So Microsoft does not exactly respect software patents when they are used against Microsoft. Dana Blankenhorn asks, "when will Microsoft admit the truth about software patents?"

Copyright is the best protection for software. It lasts longer, you don’t have to make a big filing on it, you don’t have to open the kimono to win in court.

Just file a case to overturn State Street, or limit your lobbying to a call for an end to software patents.


Here is another new opinion:

So, apparently Microsoft isn't allowed to use the docx format. Another company has patent on using XML for documents.


So, when it does not suit Microsoft, then software patents should not be respected. Similarly, Microsoft thinks the GPL does not apply to it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], but risk of lawsuits led it to complying, which makes the GPL victorious.

So Linux users can thank the GPL for not allowing Novell-Microsoft pact to turn into the MicroNovellix distro *now with 10% more proprietary fork goodness*. :)

Microsoft may learn the value of pragmatism, but their compliance with the GPL license with regards to Linux is much like forcing oneself to go to the dentist to have a cavity filled, or the State of Alabama or Texas being compelled not to violate human rights by court order. Necessity and desire are two totally different things.

The necessity of obeying a court order can’t force stupid hicks to cease being stupid hicks, the desire to wish your tooth didn’t ache won’t make it so, and the GPL can’t force Microsoft to stop being a proprietary software-foisting patent troll. Take the code contribution for what it is.


Is it not funny that Microsoft eventually complied with the GPL while it still refuses to accept the rules of software patents? What does it say about Microsoft? And more importantly, what does it say about software patents?

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