Feeds

Microsoft in BlueJ patent U-turn

We didn't mean to do it

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

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 But following an outcry from the BlueJ developer community, Microsoft has withdrawn its application to patent the software.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Kölling told El Reg "I am very happy that Microsoft has withdrawn the patent application.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

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
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
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.