Feeds

Gates joins ex-Microsoft CTO to register patents

Washington troll patrol

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

Bill Gates is working with his former chief technology officer turned IP collector Nathan Myhrvold to register patents in a way that could help Microsoft monetize the internet.

TechDirt has uncovered that Bill Gates is named as an inventor on nine patents registered with a company called Searete since he stepped down from day-to-day responsibilities with Microsoft. Gates is also named on a further two Searete patents pre-dating his Microsoft departure.

Gates with the Ballmerbot

Look out SteveO, you're next

Searete is one of a clutch of companies operated by Myrholvd's Intellectual Ventures (IV). Myhrvold holds 241 named patents in Searete, whose catalogue goes back to November 2005.

Myhrvold gained notoriety in 1997 as Microsoft's US antitrust case was just warming up when as CTO, he reportedly said Microsoft hoped to gain a "vig" on every online transition involving Microsoft technology. He said Microsoft would offer consumers both "electronic information and the means to act on it."

Some will see this as an online ads-based revenue model or Microsoft charging for licensing of its software, such as servers, used to power online services.

Others, though, have been concerned this might be a backdoor to charging those who implement patents containing Microsoft-owned intellectual property.

That was certainly a concern some years back as Microsoft expanded a catalogue of Web Services specifications - WS-*. And even though the WS-* specifications are covered by Microsoft's Open Specification Promise (OSP), concerns remain that Microsoft can unilaterally update the terms.

Not helping Microsoft's case is the fact that Gates isn't the only Softie working with Searete. Senior vice president of Microsoft research Rick Rashid and chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie - who assumed some of Gates' responsibilities on departure - are also listed on the Searete patents. Searete and IV are also based in Bellevue, Washington - Microsoft's home state.

The patents authored by Gates, Rashid, Mundie, and others cover ways of identifying and monitoring the way people interact with web sites and online systems.

Myhrvold left Microsoft 2000 after 14 years to form IV, a company about which little is known and that's been steadily building a catalogue of patents. The company has recently gone out of its way to deny it's a patent troll (warning: PDF), by talking to certain sections of the press. IV describes itself as an "invention company." ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
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.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.