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Giving the Lie to Patents and Innovation

Nov 08, 2007, 02:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Andy Updegrove)

"One of the enduring soap operas this year has involved the ongoing patent infringement threats by Microsoft against 'Linux, OpenOffice, email, and other open source software.' According to Microsoft, 235 of its (unnamed) patents are being infringed, and it should be entitled to be paid for this use of its intellectual property. Steve Ballmer believes that Microsoft owes it to its stockholders to file patents to protect its innovations, and then to assert these intellectual property rights in this way, and at this time.

"Of course, Linux is based on Unix, which has been around for decades, as have many flavors of Unix created by IBM, HP, Sun and others. Curiously, Microsoft is not now, and never has, alleged that those systems infringe upon these same patents. Apparently, its stockholders do not expect it to assert patents against Unix vendors or users--just open source vendors..."

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