Feeds

Microsoft in BlueJ patent U-turn

We didn't mean to do it

The essential guide to IT transformation

Microsoft has pulled a patent application for "Object Test Bench" in Visual Studio after it was accused both of copying the idea from the BlueJ community, and of filing the patent application in the full knowledge that prior art existed.

BlueJ is an integrated development environment for beginner Java developers, developed as a part of a research project at the University of Kent, and at Deakin University in Australia. It was developed specifically to help teach object orientation within Java to first year students.

Microsoft developed a strikingly similar tool back in 2005, and in May 2006 applied to patent it in the US.

Before the patent was filed, Michael Kölling, one of the developers of the environment, was very relaxed about the similarities between the two tools: "So have they copied us? I don't know. It could all be a great coincidence. And what if they have? Is it illegal? No, it isn't...Do I care? I don't care that they copied BlueJ - good on them, and good luck to them. But I care about attribution."

Once the patent application emerged, however, it was all a bit different, with Köling expressing fears for the future of the environment. But following an outcry from the BlueJ developer community, Microsoft has withdrawn its application to patent the software.

Visual Studio Express lead product manager Dan Fernandez writes on his blog: "The patent application was a mistake and one that should not have happened. To fix this, Microsoft will be removing the patent application in question. Our sincere apologies to Michael Kölling and the BlueJ community."

Kölling told El Reg "I am very happy that Microsoft has withdrawn the patent application. It is very unfortunate that they filed such an obviously unmerited application in the first place...but it also shows that there are individuals within Microsoft who 'Do The Right Thing' and try to play fair with the academic community."

He adds that the whole debacle might just have undermined Redmond's attempts to cosy up to the academic community. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

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
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
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.
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.