"This time, the lucky donor of cash for secrets is Brother,
which will now be allowed to use Microsoft patents to make
printers. As Microsoft doesn't make printers -- indeed, doesn't
even make printer drivers -- it is an interesting exercise to try
and guess what's actually happened. It's fruitless to ask either of
the companies -- and we did try. In cases like this, as in the best
gangster movies, nobody ain't sayin' nothin'.
"Patents, you might remember, are designed to encourage
innovation by the disclosure of information: when a $1.8bn company
pays a $230bn company a secret amount for secret rights to a secret
list of patents -- something else is going on than the open
promotion of innovation and "a healthy and vibrant IT
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