Feeds

Red Hat pushes Microsoft for patents statement

It's not what you do...

The essential guide to IT transformation

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
HANA has SAP cuddling up to 'smaller partners'
Wanted: algorithm wranglers, not systems giants
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.