Microsoft Patents 'IsNot'

Carlos Ribeiro carribeiro at
Tue Nov 23 12:12:10 CET 2004

On 23 Nov 2004 09:37:11 GMT, Duncan Booth <duncan.booth at invalid.invalid> wrote:
> Lenard Lindstrom wrote:
> > Actually I believe Microsoft is just trying to keep Visual Basic distinct
> > from potential competitors.
> Probably not even that. Microsoft are simply grabbing patents for anything
> they think is remotely patentable. The primary reason for doing this is
> probably defensive: if anyone threatens to sue Microsoft for patent
> infringement they can almost certainly find grounds to countersue. This is
> a useful position for Microsoft since they have said that in nearly all
> cases they will indemnify their customers against claims that Microsoft
> software infringes patents.
> (see
> Of course they can then use this stance as an argument against using 'risky'
> non-Microsoft software.

It's actually worse and much more dangerous than this. It's not a
simply defensive move. It's a preemptive defensive move against
open-source software. With patents will become impossible to implement
software that is compatible with MS offerings. This problem has
already bitten some projects, particularly Samba and some X related
projects, specially color management and font rendering (which the
play field is full of patents, some actually worthy, some silly).

With patents, Microsoft can also strike back at open-source with an
economical argument: "I am the innovator and those guys are copying my
innovation and dumping the market with cheap copies". Its a good
argument for courts, and one that a conservative administration (read
Bush) is ready to buy.

Carlos Ribeiro
Consultoria em Projetos
mail: carribeiro at
mail: carribeiro at

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