Feeds

Microsoft in BlueJ patent U-turn

We didn't mean to do it

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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 But following an outcry from the BlueJ developer community, Microsoft has withdrawn its application to patent the software.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Kölling told El Reg "I am very happy that Microsoft has withdrawn the patent application.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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV
Alert system tips oblivious phone junkies to oncoming traffic
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.