Groklaw: Antitrust Law Can Curtail or Trump a Patent--Patent Lesson One
Dec 31, 2004, 16:00 (1 Talkback[s])
"I asked marbux, one of Groklaw's retired attorneys, if he would
explain a bit more to us about the connection between patents and
antitrust law. He will be writing a number of articles, because it
is a complex area of law, explaining it piece by piece. It matters
that we understand it, because if Microsoft intends to use patents
as a weapon against free and open source software, it is prudent to
know what weapons the community has in return that it can use.
"The law, in my experience, can usually be summed up like
this--what's fair? And the question that is always on the table,
particularly now that Microsoft has been found guilty of antitrust
violations not only in the US but in Europe as well, is: is it fair
for a company like Microsoft to use patents, including standards
encumbered by patents, against FOSS for anticompetitive purposes?
It doesn't feel fair. But what does the law say? Does it