Feeds

Red Hat pushes Microsoft for patents statement

It's not what you do...

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Red Hat has called on Microsoft to resist threatening developers and customers with prosecution over possible infringements of patented technologies in Linux

Mark Webbink, Red Hat’s deputy general counsel, on Wednesday called on Microsoft to make a written pledge not to threaten developers with infringement claims.

In the event of disputes, Microsoft should approach Linux distributors with complaints and avoid SCO Group’s tactic of prosecuting customers, he says.

Speaking at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, California, Webbink proclaimed: “If Microsoft has IP that needs to be respected, [then] come to the companies… leave our customers out of the middle – it’s the civil thing to do.”

The presence of IP in Linux is both a murky subject and keen talking point. According to Open Source Risk Management (OSRM), also appearing at LinuxWorld after Webbink, 15,000 patent issues are “relevant” to the Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl/Python (LAMP) stack, of which 300 are “colorable claims” relevant to Linux. A colorable claim is something that may not be legitimate but merely appears to have legitimacy.

According to Webbink, Microsoft’s goal is to ramp up its of number patent filings. He noted Microsoft’s wish to file 3,000 patents a year - compared to approximately 200 in 1994.

The problem this poses for ISVs and customers is the cost associated with fighting patent infringement actions. Simply researching each patent can cost $5,000 per patent, meaning organizations may settle in the early stages of a case to minimize their costs. “It’s not a game, it’s expensive for a company to look at a patent portfolio,” Webbink said

Worse, most software patents are invalid. Webbink quoted research that found 67 per cent of all software patents filed between 1988 and 1996 did not stand up, while one in two claims are currently thrown out rather than registered by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

This leads Webbink to conclude that Microsoft, and other companies also aggressively filing patents, are doing so to protect their business and restrict the competition. “Patents are about maintaining market share and preventing others competing effectively,” he said.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.