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Through the Patent Looking Glass with Microsoft's Brad Smith

May 18, 2007, 00:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

"But that doesn't automatically mean that they should take the statements at face value, and especially when they are so contradictory. For example, what does one make of the fact that Microsoft wants royalties, but doesn't want to sue anyone to get them? And if Microsoft really believes that it has so many patents that are being infringed by Linux, why has it waited so long to assert them? And given the differences between Linux and Windows, why has it never asserted any of its patents against the many other operating systems--including Unix--that have existed over the years, each of which presumably infringed upon some subset (presumably major) of those same patents?

"Then there are the practical considerations: the fact that it would be infeasible for Microsoft to actually sue myriad vendors and customers; the fact that many of the its patents (perhaps most) would not stand scrutiny; that many distributors own patents that Microsoft is presumably infringing as well; the likely hostility that European regulators would have for such a gambit. And so on..."

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