November 14, 2004

The Empire Strikes Back

We certainly don't need additional reasons to stop supporting Microsoft, but here's another: Groklaw:Step Into My Parlor, Said the Spider to the Fly

Last year, Microsoft had 4,000 patents in total. This year, they applied for another 3,000. They are now planning at least twenty IP cross-licensing deals with other large corporations, and have made it clear that they are seeking similiar alliances with even their worst enemies. This April, they quietly offered a "Royalty Free Protocol License Agreement" on their site. It generously allows the license of "any intellectual property rights Microsoft may have in any or all of [the following] protocols". The 130 protocols listed included Appletalk, most of TCP/IP - and everything else, from DNS to Zmodem, from DHCP to the port 9 discard service (whose sole function is to drop packets). Signing this license frees developers from being sued for IP infringements by Microsoft, but prevents you from working on GPL software (Samba already warns its contributors not to sign it). This week, Microsoft indemnified all their customers from the legal fallout of any court cases revolving around their IP. Which implies there is either about to be such a battle: or at least Microsoft wants everyone to think there'll be one. Put this week in your diaries, ladies and gentlemen of the Internet: you don't need Yoda to tell you that the Patent Wars have begun.
Via Dave Farber's IP

Posted by James Zellmer at November 14, 2004 1:46 PM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Technology