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Red Hat Vows To Stand Up To Patent Intimidation 168

Posted by Zonk
from the stiff-upper-lip dept.
mrcgran writes "Eweek is reporting on Red Hat's assurances that can continue to deploy Linux without fear of legal retribution from Microsoft. This, despite the increasingly vocal threats emanating from Redmond. 'In a scathing response to Ballmer's remarks, Red Hat's IP team said the reality is that the community development approach of free and open-source code represents a healthy development paradigm, which, when viewed from the perspective of pending lawsuits related to intellectual property, is at least as safe as proprietary software. "We are also aware of no patent lawsuit against Linux. Ever. Anywhere," the team said in a blog posting.'"
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Red Hat Vows To Stand Up To Patent Intimidation

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  • As a customer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @04:41PM (#20945441)
    Thank you. I look forward to purchasing more from you in the future, and less from MicroSoft.
    • Exactly. And I'm sure a lot of other people feel the same way. This could make Redhat really famous if they take the bull by the horns and take MS on head-on. No longer hinting at calling MS out, but loudly and often calling their bluff enough that it's as obvious to everyone else that MS has nothing to back their bluff as it is too us.

      Yes due to the extremely weak and broad patents that have been handed out despite prior art, MS probably has some weak ones. But MS and the whole FOSS community know that
  • Well done !!! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @04:43PM (#20945473) Homepage Journal
    Running on Red Hat Enterprise 4, i was damn happy about it. Im now more happy with what i use because Red Hat is showing much integrity.
  • by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @04:44PM (#20945479) Homepage
    is that there hasn't been any explicit claims on any patents - just buzzing that there are infringements going on. Until there are at least references to the actual patents there can't be a case worth taking to court.

    And even if brought to court - the case may be dismissed if the claims aren't good or if the situation is caused by unwillingness to reveal what the infringements are.

    So in all - just call back to Redmond and ask about the details about the alleged infringements. Or write a letter.

    On the other hand if everybody reading this sends a postcard to M$ HQ asking for specifics regarding the infringements they may be at least annoyed, but as long as the writing is sensible it's still legal. Just try to get a postcard with a penguin on for this! :-)

    • by petermgreen (876956) <plugwash&p10link,net> on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:02PM (#20945765) Homepage
      the thing is that MS must know it would be virtually impossible for it to win a patent fight against some of the heavyweights in the linux buisness. IBM in particular has lots of patents of thier own and i'm sure they could find a few that MS was somehow violating.

      if they reveal publically what if anything the infringements are then unless they are really earth shattering things they will just be worked arround or prior art found weakening microsofts position further.

      so for the moment it is most sensible for MS to just spread very general fud without giving anyone any real information.
      • if they reveal publically what if anything the infringements are then unless they are really earth shattering things they will just be worked arround or prior art found weakening microsofts position further.

        Not only that, but once they reveal the patents, others have a chance to prove whether or not it was "prior art" before they even have to worry about defense of it, in which case the patent itself is voided and you no longer have a patent infringement.

        Microsoft is only trying to scare people. Until th

      • by j-cloth (862412) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:16PM (#20945979)
        IBM in particular has lots of patents of thier own and i'm sure they could find a few that MS was somehow violating.

        I was at a Redhat seminar this morning and they were talking about this exact issue. They said they belong to a consortium of companies (including IBM) who have pooled software patents for defensive purposes (I can't remember the name of the group, I want to say it's the Public Patent Foundation (www.pubpat.org) but that doesn't appear to be it). Specifically, if Microsoft tries to go against one of the members, they can search through their collection of patents, find one that MS violates, and counter sue with the desired effect of both sides either dropping it or cross licensing. Redhat's patent policy also states this (from http://www.redhat.com/legal/patent_policy.html [redhat.com]):

        One defense against such misuse is to develop a corresponding portfolio of software patents for defensive purposes. Many software companies, both open source and proprietary, pursue this strategy. In the interests of our company and in an attempt to protect and promote the open source community, Red Hat has elected to adopt this same stance. We do so reluctantly because of the perceived inconsistency with our stance against software patents; however, prudence dictates this position.
        • by Optic7 (688717) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @06:36PM (#20946951)
          Open Invention Network [openinventionnetwork.com] - with Sony, IBM, NEC, Philips, RedHat, and Novell(?) as it's members, as well as Oracle, Canonical, and a few lesser known companies as licensees. From their about page:

          Open Invention NetworkSM is an intellectual property company that was formed to promote Linux by using patents to create a collaborative environment. It promotes a positive, fertile ecosystem for Linux, which in turns drives innovation and choice in the global marketplace. This helps ensure the continuation of innovation that has benefited software vendors, customers, emerging markets and investors.

          Open Invention Network is refining the intellectual property model so that important patents are openly shared in a collaborative environment. Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. This enables companies to make significant corporate and capital expenditure investments in Linux -- helping to fuel economic growth.

          Open Invention Network ensures the openness of the Linux source code, so that programmers, equipment vendors, ISVs and institutions can invest in and use Linux with less worry about intellectual property issues. Its licensees can use the company's patents to innovate freely. This makes it economically attractive for companies that want to repackage, embed and use Linux to host specialized services or create complementary products.

          • Open Invention Network [openinventionnetwork.com] - with Sony,...

            I didn't know Sony opened their rootkit source. You'll have to forgive me for not reading on about the Open Invention Network, as their first entry in the member list left a bad taste in my mouth. Can't we trade them over to Microsoft's side? I'll even take Bill Hilf and Microsoft's Open Source division in place of Sony.
        • by init100 (915886)

          They said they belong to a consortium of companies (including IBM) who have pooled software patents for defensive purposes (I can't remember the name of the group, I want to say it's the Public Patent Foundation (www.pubpat.org) but that doesn't appear to be it).

          The name you are looking for is the Open Invention Network [openinventionnetwork.com], which is backed by such small-time players as Google, IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony.

        • by CmdrGravy (645153)
          I'm not sure how much use that would be, I'd be very surprised to see Microsoft come out and expose themselves in a one on one battle with Red Hat.

          From what Ballmer was saying a few days ago it's more likely on of those patent troll companies will pop up and go for Red Hat it's self. That way defensive patents will be useless since the troll company doesn't actually do anything other than sue people and Microsoft will not get themselves directly involved, although I expect they will be there in the backgrou
    • their address is

      Microsoft Corporation
      One Microsoft Way
      Redmond, WA 98052-6399
                      Telephone
      (800) MICROSOFT (642-7676)

      Fax
      Please include the recipient's first and last name.
      (425) 93-MSFAX (936-7329)
    • ...call back to Redmond and ask about the details

      I suspect the direct number for this kind of feedback is 1-800-EAT-SHIT.
      They might actually like that as a large number of calls
      would tell them the FUD is being taken seriously.

  • What they promised (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    They promised to remove any patent infected software. It's not like they promised to pay everybody's legal fees or anything like that.
    • by Ilgaz (86384) *

      They promised to remove any patent infected software. It's not like they promised to pay everybody's legal fees or anything like that.
      So, if one uses/deploys Redhat Enterprise, he/she must stay away from recent Novell introduced software such as Silverlight clone.

      I hope I got it right.
  • Actionable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow.wrought@g m a il.com> on Thursday October 11, 2007 @04:51PM (#20945597) Homepage Journal
    I'm not a lawyer, but I wonder if Ballmer's speech might be actionable in and of itself. In other words, Red Hat files suit against MS for defamation, Tortious Interference being the legalese methinks. Unless MS can prove the infringement, then they'd ahve to pay damages. Essentially forcing MS into the position that SCO put itself.

    Of course if I could think of it, they surely could too, only they actually know what they're doing;-)

    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      actionable? Nope. Not unless you've got a handy billion for a court case they would drag on for years, whilst they were trying everything they could to discredit you. That much money can buy a lot of witnesses against you too.

      I prefer to consider that his actions are making microsoft look less and less professional compared to the Linux vendors.

      Anyway, I just tried Vista on a machine my mum has bought. I was willing to give it the benefit of doubt, but after three days I've realised it really is a heap of c
    • by GIL_Dude (850471)
      That would probably be a bad move as MS has a hell of a lot of patents - and while I believe software patents should just up and go away - for now, they are still allowed in the US and MS may even be able to prove one or more of them are being infringed. Again, I don't like software patents anymore than the next slashdotter, but we'd be foolish to just assume that they can't prove even one patent being infringed. Maybe they can't - but it wouldn't be a good idea for Red Hat to jump into the ring unless they
      • by QuantumG (50515)

        MS has a hell of a lot of patents
        Compared to who? IBM has a hell of a lot more.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mrsteveman1 (1010381)
        MS probably does have a few valid patents in this case, but it's not about what patents MS has. This is about the fact that MS refuses to tell anyone which patents they are referring to thus making it impossible for the infringing code to be removed.

        Saying that Microsoft's claims are invalid and thus no one should worry is 100% wrong. A resolution to this problem needs to be forced quickly, the situation can't remain as it is now because it has already hurt Linux companies and the community itself.

        Either MS
    • Just using discovery to find all the software patents they have filled or purchased would be interesting
      • by yuna49 (905461)
        There's no mystery to finding out which patents Microsoft holds. Just go here [uspto.gov] You'll need some spare time to do this, though, as there are over 7,000 patents on the list.
        • That's a start but I was thinking about exclusive licensing agreements, shell companies owned by Microsoft owning rights, cross-licensing and other submarine tactics to obscure ownership as well. I'll bet that they have been going through the Linux code base and were purchasing every patent on anything even remotely similar and applied for patents on every innovation in Linux themselves in hopes of making it a prior art nightmare in court.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      In the UK you can't make groundless patent threats like this, if Red Hat want they could take Microsoft to court and force them to identify the patents that they claim to be violated.

      See section 70 of the 1977 patent act (http://www.ipo.gov.uk/patentsact1977.pdf) if you want to know the details.
    • I think that the malicious nature of Ballmer's comments are intended to drive away current Red Hat customers and induce them into breaking contracts, and is therefore actionable under the law. Its probably too expensive to get into an all out lawsuit about this, however, but I know I would, on principle.
  • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:01PM (#20945759) Journal
    All the have to do is make the PHB's think it's a possibility.That alone will,when mixed with the CYA mentality at most businesses keep Linux usage down.Which is the whole point.
  • by ditoa (952847) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:10PM (#20945885)
    I have read about this for a long time now and have been meaning to ask ...

    Does this effect Europe? And more specifically the UK?

    As far as I am aware Europe (and the UK) does not "do" software patents so even if MS is telling the truth about the Linux infringements are they even valid in Europe/UK?
    • by abigsmurf (919188) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:29PM (#20946185)
      It doesn't specifically affect EU or UK companies but technically they could be sued if they have a presence in the US. There are precedents for suing companies based in other countries because they serve US customers. Would be more hassle than it's worth though when they'd have easier US targets
  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:22PM (#20946071) Journal
    Not wishing to generalize the whole of /. here, but there seems to often be a certain vocal contingent who really dislike RedHat.

    Why?

    They've made huge contributions to Linux, and all of their custom system tools were released as Free (both kinds) when very few other commercial distros were doing the same. Now they're standing up to all this patent nonsense.

    What is there to dislike about RedHat?

    Personally, I'm not a particular fan of the distribution any more since they stopped including the old skool unix/X stuff (fvwm2, gv, xfig, ...) some of which is a pain to configure and install. But I've got nothing against them.
    • What is there to dislike about RedHat?

      Three little letters: R... P... M...

      Oh yeah, and how about the way they messed up system structure? And how they left their community supporters in the lurch without support after deciding that the RHEL/Fedora split (and, actually, there was about a six month period where there was only RHEL)? No. No reason at all to dislike them.

      Give me Canonical and Ubuntu any day.

      • by init100 (915886)

        Three little letters: R... P... M...

        I hear that argument about once a week on average, but yet nobody has been able to explain what their problem with RPM is. Would you like to try?

        • by G00F (241765)
          The problem with RPM is, well let me give a scenerio
          Suse 8x/9x came with such and old versions of gaim, that none of the protocals worked, they where liek a year behind. No big deal, just download the latest gaim right?

          Wrong
          Have to update GTK, KDE, and a half dozen other libs. Something that would take a windows user oh, I dunno, they might have to update DX or drivers at the most, not the whole entire X11 server.

          I use linux a lot, but not as a desktop. To much work.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by QuoteMstr (55051)
            So how is that the fault of rpm? If you'd tried to compile the latest gaim (well, Pidgin) yourself, it wouldn't have even finished the configuration process. rpm did you a favor by telling you what the missing dependencies were.

            It's not as if the latest Windows programs run on Windows 95.
        • dependency hell
          • by init100 (915886)

            That's a common answer, but it is completely useless. Yes, using the rpm command was a chore because of dependency hell, but now we have Yum, which resolves and downloads dependencies as necessary, just like Apt. Now, what is the problem with RPM again?

            To me, the "bad rpm, good apt" argument seems more like a mindless drone argument than anything else.

            • by Night Goat (18437) *
              Just because RPM dependency hell doesn't exist anymore doesn't mean we can't harbor bad feelings toward Red Hat for the previous hardships they put us through. I'm using Fedora right now because someone I know now works there, but I'm still sore about RPM dependency crap from back in the day.
              • Exactly, 4 working days, trying to resolve mindless recursive dependencies was enough to convince me that Red Hat just didn't give a sh*t.
                • by stry_cat (558859)
                  Well I've used debs once and after trying to get all the necessary debs for xemacs including not being able to find the real main package for days, I finally gave up and went back to Fedora/RHEL and RPM. I'm with the parent on this one, I don't see much of a difference between the two. I've had the same dependency hell with both. Apt and Yum take away much of the pain and function IMHO the same.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by domatic (1128127)
          Most people's actual problems are with fit and finish around dependencies and upgrades rather than the packages themselves.. I think Debian and it's derivatives would be just as good if they were based on RPMs instead of debs. Debs don't seem inherently superior to RPMs to me. Both are managed packages that come with files, a list of dependencies, and install scripts. The difference is in how package repositories are maintained and standards for creating packages. The Debian based distros inherit Debia
          • The difference is in how package repositories are maintained and standards for creating packages. The Debian based distros inherit Debian's outstanding efforts at this
            I totally agree that Debian (and derivatives) have got it right on this point, however, I can't really point out any differences nowadays between 'apt' and 'yum' in this regard.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pak9rabid (1011935)
      As a company, I love RedHat. As a distribution, bleh. I've used RHEL and god damn...the up2date business where you have to have each computer registered to access their online package management system is complete bullshit. We've actually migrated to CentOS instead on some of the boxes and couldn't have been happier. Yum kicks the shit out of up2date. Not because it's a better system, but because yum doesn't give a shit who's making the requests, it just services them. We could just install yum in RHEL, but
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dr. Smoove (1099425)
      There is nothing to dislike about Red Hat. These FOSSies are just bitter that a company learned how to turn OSS into a profitable business. The only reason half these fools are sweating Shuttleworth is because he hasn't made it big with Ubuntu yet, so his distro is still 'cool.' I hate that steaming pile of crap, but then again I have been using Unix since I was 13.

      Little do most people know, Red Hat has the key Fedora developers on Payroll, and tons of kernel hackers. Just one kernel hacker at Red Hat i
    • they stopped including the old skool unix/X stuff (fvwm2, gv, xfig, ...)
      In a default install, yes, but installing them afterwards is nothing more than:

      $ sudo yum install fvwm gv xfig
  • by pilbender (925017) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:24PM (#20946095) Homepage Journal
    This kind of thing doesn't work. It's been shown time and again. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is becoming the laughing stock of the tech industry.

    SCO is an example. There was some uncertainty before everything fell out. I don't think there is any uncertainty about patents or copyrights regarding Linux anymore. There is a lot of confidence in Linux now.

    Microsoft needs to get off the litigation and on to innovation. Ballmer seems to not understand what this company attitude does to Microsoft's customer base and its reputation.

    When I see comments like this I see that Microsoft needs a new CEO with a vision and not a Steve Ballmer with a litigation team. Just my perception. I think there are many others who share this view.
    • This kind of thing doesn't work. It's been shown time and again. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer is becoming the laughing stock of the tech industry.
      That's just the problem - the tech community. Those who understand it, don't manage it; those who manage it don't understand it. I wish there were some way around this, but I'm not going to manage it... I'd rather be writing code than anything managerial, how about you?
  • by starseeker (141897) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:26PM (#20946151) Homepage
    Microsoft is in a very curious position right now. The SCO assault (which was to their benefit, whether or not they were behind it) has sputtered below the point of PR credibility. Linux is gaining ground slowly but steadily, particularly on the server side. The server side represents most of the "movable" machines as far as OS is concerned. Windows already has most of the world's desktops and so many users and businesses hooked into Office that they are all but impregnable in the near term as far as serious market share loss is concerned. (As Linux has discovered, it turns out the biggest and hardest barriers to acceptance are the re-training of users and the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality.) Oddly enough, this also makes showing growth difficult (Vista).

    To compete against free software on the server side, there are some unique problems. Much more savvy "users" in the form of sysadmins who can and will learn new systems, stable and trusted software bases which provide both freedom to tweak and freedom from vendor lock in, and a very long history of Unix style systems proving themselves equal to server tasks. (Indeed, Solaris itself is now freely available, for those who are gun shy of Linux.) Licensing costs and concerns are impossible - Linux is free in many forms.

    Hence the temptation to use patents. Patents are one of the few weapons that cannot be easily countered by an open source software movement, particularly if the patents have the effect of shutting open source software out of certain markets altogether. The lack of revenue to pay lawyers looms large here - in the US legal system that's a very dangerous position to occupy. But there are still drawbacks for Microsoft:

    Much major open source work is not done in the US, but in places like the EU. Microsoft's position in the EU is weaker, and opening an offensive there would be more difficult. Politically it would also have ramifications, possibly serious ones.

    If Microsoft DOES open a patent offensive against major open source projects, they run the risk of triggering Armageddon - a broad scale patent war that could leave the entire US software industry in ruins. There are defensive alliances behind open source who's potential in a legal contest must be weighed.

    If they go TOO gung-ho, it could have the effect of helping to convince Congress to remove the software patent go-ahead.

    In the short term, lawsuits against the free software key players least able to defend themselves would have a major harmful effect on the community (to say nothing of the individuals caught up in it.) However, potential long term effects are another story - Microsoft doesn't hold large legal clubs everywhere.

    A lot of our manufacturing is now being done overseas, and many companies are outsourcing wherever they can. If all of a sudden the price of outsourcing was being compatible with non-Windows systems INSIDE the US (foreign governments may mandate avoiding dealing with someone like Microsoft, after all...), it would be very interesting indeed to see how that played out...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gillbates (106458)

      Patents are one of the few weapons that cannot be easily countered by an open source software movement, particularly if the patents have the effect of shutting open source software out of certain markets altogether.

      Not true. In the same way a DDOS is effective against single boxes on the network, a plethora of patents by open-source contributors could effectively stall closed-source development. Imagine if:

      • One of every 10 OS developers filed for a patent on the things they invented, and agreed to
  • The fact that Microsoft have refused to say what the code is, shows intent to terrorize.

    Someone call homeland security.

    The open source principle and process is one of having the ability to fix and/or modify code.
    Microsoft is not playing by those rules.

    Open source doesn't play by Microsofts rules.

    But it is Microsoft that is making a accusation against open source.

    Open source is willing to fix the problem. Microsoft is not willing to allow that.

    All in all, what would any reasonable court think of this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:30PM (#20946195)
    Simply using the correct terms -- "software patents" and "extortion" -- is enough to repel these lame Microsoft threats.

    By using the term "intellectual property", Steve Ballmer is saying Linux infringes Microsoft copyright, trademarks and trade secrets. Perhaps he should stick to throwing chairs instead of using big words he doesn't understand.
    • by rs79 (71822)
      "By using the term "intellectual property", Steve Ballmer is saying Linux infringes Microsoft copyright, trademarks and trade secrets "

      Oh no. He found THAT .h file...

  • Sarbanes Oxley (Score:3, Insightful)

    by curious.corn (167387) on Thursday October 11, 2007 @05:55PM (#20946515)
    Recently some software vendors told us that because recent changes in US legislation they must be very careful on what they promise about the upcoming software they showcase. To make it short they said that spreading unsubstantiated FUD or keeping customers from choosing competing products with blanket promises that later go unfulfilled has been made equivalent to market manipulation and is punished harshly.

    Would this "beware! there be dragons..." attitude of Microsoft constitute a violation of said US law? Is cutting air supply with vague patent threats a punishable behaviour?

    e
    • Possibly RICO violations.

      Problem is: you take msft to court, and msft will bleed you dry with legal expenses. Legal expenses are nothing to msft. Settlements are nothing to msft either.

      Msft gets sued all of the time. Msft pays about $1 billion a year in settlements. But, when your taking in $40 billion a year, it's just a minor cost of doing business.
  • There is a list of 1,573 people who have decided to call Microsoft's bluff by signing a list offering to be the first ones to be sued by Microsoft for supposedly "infringing" Microsoft's 235 patents. Although I am a lawyer, I don't practice Intellectual Property law, and so I am not rendering a legal opinion on this area. But as a practical matter, I can tell you that whenever I sue someone, I first send them a letter demanding payment, and then if they don't pay in short order, I do sue them. I am too busy on a day-to-day basis bluffing people, and those who think that real lawyers with real claims bluff people, they are dead wrong. Some day, someone is going to call your bluff, and maybe even sue you for falsely claiming that you have a right against them, so I advise my clients to think carefully about claiming in public that they can sue someone if, in fact, they have no true claims.

    In this particular case, mere common sense would tell most practicing attorneys that if Microsoft had valid claims, it would simply start rolling out the lawsuits and collecting money. Think of all the copies of OpenOffice.org and GNU Linux that are drifting around the world!!! If Microsoft had valid claims against those the users or their distros, dontcha think that they would file suit against a really solid test case, and then trot out that case for everyone else in the world to see? Of course they would.

    Here is a link to page 13 of the list:

    [digitaltippingpoint.com]http://digitaltippingpoint.com/wiki/index.php?title=SMFM_list_page_13 [digitaltippingpoint.com]

    So I am not buying Microsoft's questionable claims, and I have signed up for the list. Let's put an end to this questionable puffery! Microsoft, if you have a claim against me, sue me now, or shut up! You can serve me with a lawsuit here:

    Christian J. Einfeldt
    Law Offices of Christian J. Einfeldt
    580 California Street, Suite 1600
    San Francisco, CA 94104

    In your complaint, Microsoft, you will want to specify which programs I am using. I am using openSUSE GNU Linux 10.2; Edgy Kubuntu; OpenOffice.org is my only office productivity suite, and so when you file suite against me, you might really want to stick a finger in my asking for an order barring me from using OpenOffice.org to write my reply briefs, because that is the tool I use for all my court briefs. I am also using Firefox, which you have heavily borrowed from, so please be sure to throw that in.

    Oh, and I have installed about 100 copies of GNU Linux, OpenOffice.org and Firefox on various different computers for a public middle school in San Francisco, and I have also given out about 16 computers with those programs installed on them. So be sure to add a couple of causes of action for that, Brad Smith.

    Hey, don't forget the fact that I started the "Sue Me First, Microsoft" list, where I very publicly questioned the veracity of your claims, so you would do well to add a couple of counts of defamation, since I am publicly calling into question both the veracity of your claims and your motivation for merely making a public fuss, without proving your claims.

    But of course, I have nothing to worry about, because your claims probably are defeated by 1) obviousness; 2) prior art; and 3) limitations on patenting math. After all, if Microsoft could have patented 1 + 1 = 2, you would have done so, wouldn't you?
    • by CBravo (35450)
      The question that I would have, as shareholder, is: why are we not suing and collecting income?
    • by d^2b (34992)
      I don't think it is a direct patent suit from Microsoft that is likely, but rather suits from patent trolls [groklaw.net], possibly with "moral" support from Microsoft.
    • by trifish (826353)
      In this particular case, mere common sense would tell most practicing attorneys that if Microsoft had valid claims, it would simply start rolling out the lawsuits and collecting money.

      I wonder if people really are so naive to believe that Microsoft is only bluffing. FYI, there are patents on things like GUI hyperlink, checkbox, double click, listview, you name it.
      • @trifish:

        You wrote:

        I wonder if people really are so naive to believe that Microsoft is only bluffing. FYI, there are patents on things like GUI hyperlink, checkbox, double click, listview, you name it.

        IMHO, if Microsoft was sure it had valid patents, it would have sued by now. Even small patent trolls like Acacia, which filed the recent patent infringement suits this week against Novell and Red Hat, exercise their "rights" if they believe they have them. I am convinced that Microsoft has not filed its

        • by trifish (826353)
          IMHO, if Microsoft was sure it had valid patents, it would have sued by now.

          Again, that is a naive assumption. There are many possible reasons to not sue by now.
  • t appears that a company known as IP Innovation LLC is now filing suit against Red Hat and Novell [boycottnovell.com], regarding a patent for "a User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects".
    • Right I am sure they invented teh dumb terminal recently as anew kind of technology never seen before.

  • What about this one? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by naich (781425) on Friday October 12, 2007 @03:36AM (#20950413) Homepage
    "We are also aware of no patent lawsuit against Linux. Ever. Anywhere,"... and as he said that Microsoft released the flying monkeys...

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071011205044141 [groklaw.net]

  • by rs232 (849320) on Friday October 12, 2007 @04:53AM (#20950655)
    "Acacia subsidiary [blogspot.com] IP Innovation LLC and fellow patent troll Technology Licensing Corp sued Red Hat and Novell in Marshall"

    In July 2007, Acacia Research Corporation announced that Jonathan Taub [groklaw.net] joined its Acacia Technologies group as Vice President. Mr. Taub joins Acacia from Microsoft

    Acacia Research Corporation .. has named Brad Brunell as Senior Vice President .. Mr. Brunell joins Acacia from Microsoft

    --

    Is there any disinterested law official anywhere on the planet that is concerned with what is going on here. A seller of inferior software facilitates the formation of a patent troll and extortion racket. It then uses threats from said same company to intimidate people into using its own product and scare them away from using competitors product.

If you do something right once, someone will ask you to do it again.

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