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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 care...?"

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