Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Microsoft, Patents and the Soprano's - Part #2

Previously, I referred to a post by my buddy Steve Walli on Microsoft and patents. John Fontana over at Network World has written another interesting article around this area. Some quotes of note:

“The reality is that they (Microsoft) are not going to sue a single customer,” says Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation. “It would not be in their business interest. Microsoft is not going to sue their customers.”

I totally agree with that. I believe it would be disastrous to Microsoft themselves if they started to do this. Suing about piracy is one thing. Suing about patent violation is another. It could work if Microsoft were the underdog but this is definitely not the case. Who likes the neighborhood bully??

I would be shocked if Microsoft didn’t have patents that read on Linux,” said Mark Radcliffe, a partner at law firm DLA Piper US who advises companies on intellectual property issues. “Will they enforce them is the question. Companies using Linux don’t have to fear patent suits.”

I'm not a lawyer but I thought that if you have a patent and don't enforce it that you can be shown to have "abandoned" your claim to that patent. If that's true then it will be interesting to see how this does turn out because time is not on Microsoft's side!

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