EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.31.07

Patents: Novell Clarifies While Microsoft Antagonises

Posted in Apple, Interoperability, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell has updated its PR blog to counter what it believes to be a case of misinterpretation.

A number of articles about the filings indicate incorrectly that we are excluding OpenOffice from the covenant not to sue under the patent cooperation agreement. That’s not the case. This confusion likely stems from language in the agreements around a “grandfather clause” for certain products. The covenants Microsoft and Novell make to each other’s customers relate to ‘Covered Products.’ Some products with certain characteristics – known as ‘Excluded Products’ – do not qualify as Covered Products, and thus are not covered by these covenants. Certain products available before November 2, 2006, however, are automatically covered under these covenants, regardless of whether or not they have the characteristics of an ‘Excluded Product’. The reference in the patent cooperation agreement to OpenOffice simply means that it does not qualify for this automatic coverage. It does not mean it is not covered by the covenants. As we jointly stated with Microsoft in November, OpenOffice is covered under the patent cooperation agreement.

Elsewhere on the Web, there are various discussions that revolve around software patents and their effectiveness (or lack thereof). Here is a roundup that contains a few.

The Los Angeles Times seems to suggest that Microsoft is faced with a lose-lose situation. The only gain may be coming from the ability to instill fear in the mind of the prospective customer, which still weighs Free software options.

Is Microsoft fighting a losing battle? That’s the question posed by an op-ed piece in today’s Los Angeles Times. Maybe so, the writer concludes…

As the LA Times piece points out, whether Microsoft litigates the issues or not, the patent dispute with open source may well result in even fewer patent restrictions industry-wide than currently exist. But given that the trend toward open source and open standards shows no signs of slacking, that’s not necessarily bad.

Another op-ed from eWeek concurs entirely, at least on the issue of inevitability.

When Microsoft representatives state that everyone must play by the same rules, as they often have during recent months, what the company means is that the business and technological realities under which they’ve built their empire shouldn’t be allowed to change. However, just as the appeal of decentralized solar power will, once technologically feasible, prove irresistible, so too will the tide of free software that’s already begun rolling in prove too powerful to turn back.

RedMonk explains why the approach taken by IBM is the correct one. This implicitly suggests that Microsoft is making a big mistake.

In the wake of Microsoft’s deplorable patent commentary, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a couple of vendors on the subject of software patents.

[...]

All things considered, of course, I’d prefer that software vendors take a stance that’s cognizant of the fundmental cracks in the foundation of our patent system. But if for whatever the reason, that’s not viable, I’d recommend they do the next best thing: don’t say anything at all. It seems to work fairly well for Big Blue.

Having made this mistake, Microsoft continues to put a spin on the recent developments.

Microsoft does not believe there is an inherent contradiction between its recent statements that free and open-source software infringes on 235 of its patents, and the veiled legal threats that go along with that, and its attempts to reach out and build bridges with the open-source community.

Of course, Microsoft understands that interoperability which is based on taxation is absurd, but it stifles the rivals’ progress, assuming Linux vendors do not have extensive patent portfolios or plenty of money to spare. It’s just part of that same old manipulative agenda, which a quick look at Microsoft’s so-called ‘Open Source’ licence pretty much aligns with.

The [MSPL] Patent Poison Pill

What happens if you file a claim regarding a patent implemented in the work? The MSPL section 3B says:

That is, if you initiate legal action against any contributor to the work regarding a patent which the work may infringe, your right to the patents of that contributor (under this agreement) go away.

[...]

With a patent protection clause as anemic as MSPL 3B, I wonder why even bother adding it to the license. Though I don’t really believe it’s this useless as part of some sinister master plan, I think it demonstrates that Microsoft still doesn’t understand that there’s no distinction, in terms of our licenses, in the FOSS world between users, contributors, and companies.

For that matter, Apple is no angel either, but for slightly different reasons.

There is a cost for not being a good Open Source citizen and that cost is loss of goodwill in the community. That loss is more expensive in the long run than Apple realizes.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 1/10/2014: OPNFV Goes Public, PDF Reader Pullout

    Links for the day



  2. Links 29/9/2014: OpenDaylight Helium Release

    Links for the day



  3. European Patent Office Disorganisation: Problems With the Audit Mechanisms - Part IV

    A prelude to a long article about a thug called Topić, his controversial Battistelli-sponsored appointment, and the removal of auditory functions by Battistelli



  4. More Good News About Demise of Software Patents and Along With Them, Consequently, Patent Trolls

    A weekly roundup of news about patents in the United States and elsewhere, with special focus on software patents



  5. IRC Proceedings: June 22nd, 2014 – September 13th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  6. Links 28/9/2014: Moto X, End of OpenSUSE 11.4

    Links for the day



  7. CBS Continues to Get Heavily Occupied by Microsoft Staff to Spread Microsoft Propaganda

    The CBS-owned ZDNet continues to hire people who have worked or are currently working for Microsoft and unsurprisingly enough they use their newly-acquired positions to praise Microsoft and bash Microsoft's competition, usually with no disclosure of their conflict of interest



  8. Links 27/9/2014: Linux (Almost) Everywhere, Features Of Linux 3.17

    Links for the day



  9. Microsoft Fakes 'Charity' and Uses Religious Groups to Acquire Lock-in in the Public Sector

    Microsoft's involvements with NGOs and with governments lead to more distrust, more surveillance, less freedom, and ultimately systemic corruption



  10. Bill Gates' Privatisation Crusade

    Mr. Gates, seeking to increase his huge profits and political power, reaches out to Catholic leaders and David Christian



  11. Tux Machines Under DDOS Attack

    Most of Tux Machines continues to work as usual, but some parts are temporarily restricted to keep the server running



  12. Links 26/9/2014: LibreOffice Celebrations, Betas of *buntu

    Links for the day



  13. Links 25/9/2014: KDE Roadmap, Bash Bug, GNOME 3.14 in Next Fedora

    Links for the day



  14. Links 24/9/2014: GNOME 3.14 Released, Bash Has a Bug

    Links for the day



  15. Links 21/9/2014: Fedora 21 Alpha

    Links for the day



  16. More of Bill Gates' Investments in GMO and Mass Indoctrination Under the Disguise of 'Donations'

    Microsoft's arrogant and famously corrupt co-founder is taken to task by those whom he is trying to bamboozle for monopoly, unlimited cross-generational power, and never-ending profit without risk



  17. Home Depot Confirmed a Victim of Microsoft's Bad Security, Microsoft Lays Off Security-Related Staff

    News reports circulate showing that Home Depot was knowingly careless with its Windows dependency while Microsoft lays off staff focused on security



  18. European Patent Office/Organisation - Suspicion of Improper Collusion Between EPO President and Chairman of the Administrative Council: Part III

    A preliminary look at Battistelli's reign and how regulatory powers got abolished, leaving the EPO reckless and largely unaccountable



  19. Links 21/9/2014: xorg-server 1.16.1, Linux Kernel 3.16.3

    Links for the day



  20. Links 20/9/2014: GNOME 3.13.92, Android L

    Links for the day



  21. Scanning Patent Troll Implodes; Is the Podcasting Patent Troll Next?

    MPHJ loses and Personal Audio LLC perhaps wins for the last time since software patents are quickly losing legitimacy in the United States



  22. If CAFC is Not Above the Law, Then it Should be Shut Down Now

    A long series of abuses in CAFC may as well suggest that this court has become broken beyond repair



  23. The Latest From Microsoft Patent Trolls and Patent Partners

    Microsoft-linked and Linux-hostile trolls continue their relentless attacks (albeit with little or no success) while patents as a weapon lose their teeth owing to a Supreme Court ruling



  24. Microsoft Proves That Its Massive Layoffs Are Not About Nokia

    Microsoft is laying off a lot of employees who have nothing at all to do with Nokia



  25. Links 19/9/2014: Another Red Hat Acquisition, Netflix Dumps Microsoft Silverlight and Brings DRM to WWW

    Links for the day



  26. Links 18/9/2014: Windows Copying GNU/Linux, Germany Moves to Security

    Links for the day



  27. Web Site 'Patent Progress' Now Officially 'Powered by CCIA' (FRAND Proponent, Microsoft Front)

    After talking a job at CCIA, "Patent Progress" and its chief author should be treated as dubious on real patent progress



  28. Articles About the Death of Software Patents in the United States

    Recent coverage of software patents and their demise in their country of origin, where even proponents of software patents are giving up



  29. The Death of Software Patents is Already Killing Some Major Patent Trolls

    VirnetX seems to be the latest victim of the demise of software patents in the United States



  30. More Microsoft Layoffs

    More Microsoft layoffs go ahead as the company is unable to compete


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts