Feeds

MS extends IP protection to hoi polloi

Ammo for fight against open source

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft is to extend its intellectual property (IP) protection to all licensed users of the bulk of its software. Previously the IP indemnification was only available to volume licensees, but now the company says it will protect all its users in the event of disputes arising over patents, copyright, trade secrets and trademarks. It has also lifted the monetary cap on the guarantee.

The software giant says the move is designed to give customers peace of mind when using Microsoft products, but it has also used the announcement as an opportunity to attack its open source competitors. It warns that few other companies, including big players like HP, Novell and IBM, offer similarly strong protection.

In an FAQ on its website, the company states:

Microsoft recognizes that some people are comparing the indemnification or IP warranty offers that companies like IBM, HP, Novell and Red Hat are making for their Linux products, and we encourage them to do so. The level of protection offered by each company varies significantly.

and

Red Hat's intellectual property warranty makes no promise to cover a customer's legal expenses, which, according to a recent paper by Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood LLP, "An Indemnity Primer for IT Consumers," can be between $500,000 and $4 million alone -- even before a finding of fault.

A report from analyst house Yankee Group provides some support for Microsoft's position. It states that while owners of proprietary software are protected from IP disputes, "indemnification in the Linux and open source world is a very iffy proposition" because of the difficulties of guaranteeing non standard code.

Indeed: even Microsoft's extended IP protection has its limits. Microsoft says that in embedded industry or task-specific software, where distributors have permission to alter the code, it cannot offer the same IP protection.

The Yankee report's authors do acknowledge that the chances are remote that a company will be the target of a third-party lawsuit, like SCO's efforts against IBM, DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone: "It’s about the same chance that the average taxpayer gets audited by the Internal Revenue Service", it says. ®

Related link

The press release from Microsoft.

Related stories

Whatdya mean, free software?
McNealy: Microsoft needs Sun to beat IBM and Red Hat
Neutered SCO no longer on the offensive

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
ONE MILLION people already running Windows 10
A third of them are doing it in VMs, but early feedback focuses on frippery
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Do Moan! MONSTER 6-day EMAIL OUTAGE hits Domain Monster
Customers freaked out by frightful service
Ploppr: The #VultureTRENDING App of the Now
This organic crowd sourced viro- social fertiliser just got REAL
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
NetWare sales revive in China thanks to that man Snowden
If it ain't Microsoft, it's in fashion behind the Great Firewall
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.