Feeds

Microsoft puts a figure on open source 'patent infringements'

Number of the beast

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft's top lawyer says open source software violates exactly 235 entries in the firm's vast patent portfolio.

General counsel Brad Smith released the figure to Fortune as part of Microsoft's long-running campaign to seed doubts over the legality of Linux and other open source efforts.

Redmond's licensing boss Horacio Gutierrez said: "This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement. There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed."

Smith said the Linux kernel violates 42 Microsoft patents and the GUI stomps on another 65. Open Office plays free and easy with 45 more, while email programs do for 15, and miscellaneous open source programs accounting for the remaining 68.

Smith said: "The only real solution that [the open source] folks have to offer, is that they first burn down the bridge, and then they burn down the patent system."

Microsoft announced no plans to act on the accusations. Last month the Supreme Court ruled that patents had been granted too readily in a case between KSR International and Teleflex Inc. Details here at Business Week. The patent portfolio run by the Open Invention Network - a consortium backed by IBM, Sony, Philips, Novell, Red Hat, and NEC - could slap back with its own lawsuits against Microsoft if it goes through with its threats.

Free Software Foundation lawyer Eben Moglen was wheeled out to repeat the movement's assertion that algorithms are not patentable. He said: "As the commercial confrontation between [free software] and software-that's-a-product becomes more fierce, patent law's going to be the terrain on which a big piece of the war's going to be fought. Waterloo is here somewhere."

The Fortune story, which includes a run-down of the saga, is here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
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
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?