Article of Gnome, Mono, Ubuntu and growing influence of Microsoft

Nils Kassube kassube at
Thu Mar 13 19:43:33 GMT 2008

thephotoman wrote:
> On Fri, 22 Feb 2008 08:02:49 +0100, Nils Kassube wrote:
> > Jan Claeys wrote:
> >> Did you or someone else do an investigation into what parts are most
> >> vulnerable to software patents (in those countries that allow them)?
> >
> > Yes, Microsoft did the research. They came to the conclusion that 235
> > of their patents are infringed [1]. As they don't tell anybody which
> > patents, I suppose there are many trivial patents like [2].
> >
> > But seriously, according to [3] it would not be wise to do such a
> > research without prior lawyer advice. At least in the USA the damages
> > for patent infringement are tripled if the infringer knows about the
> > patent.
> And you honestly believe them?

Not sure which "them" you mean here? If you mean Microsoft, then the 
answer is NO - Microsoft isn't trustworthy. But if you mean the SFLC 
lawyers referred in the last paragraph you quoted, the answer would be 

> They've made that claim for the last 
> several years now, and it's pretty much an idle threat.  If they were
> truly worried about their patents, or in any way interested in
> protecting them legitimately, they'd have informed the proper
> maintainers about these patents. 

Agreed. If they really knew of so many infringed patents, they would sue 
the appropriate developers one per month to frighten Linux users for a 
very long time.

> If the patents do exist and are valid 
> (even if the first is true, the second is almost certainly not), they
> would have legally been required to do something about it.

No, AFAIK they would not be required to do something. They can decide when 
and whom to attack with lawsuits. It may be more difficult to claim a 
high damage if they wait a long time, but they are not forced to act as 
soon as they are aware of the infringement. In this regard patents are 
different from trademarks where you loose your rights if you don't defent 
the trademark.


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