Feeds

Microsoft in BlueJ patent U-turn

We didn't mean to do it

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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 But following an outcry from the BlueJ developer community, Microsoft has withdrawn its application to patent the software.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Kölling told El Reg "I am very happy that Microsoft has withdrawn the patent application.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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.