You can taste the irony of Microsoft's patent positions on MP3 and Linux

Summary:Yes, litigating your way to software business success has its pitfalls, and it's ironies. Trouble for Microsoft is that it has the deepest pockets in town, and therefore an IP infringement magnet, whereas the Linux cup runnith over in all directions, with only a trickle available for a jury to potentially ransack. It just doesn't seem fair.

Sure juries are fickle, and appeals can drag on and on -- especially with $1.5 billion at stake. But perceptions count too in big jury awards. And the perceptions that Microsoft has tried to encourage in regard to patents -- that Linux steps all over Microsoft's intellectual property, though we don't know exactly how -- must make a lot of sense to Alcatel-Lucent today, if no one else.

Just when fear enjoys a energetic caddy (Ballmer) on Microsoft's repeated foray into Linux legal uncertainty, a real law suit with real trial lawyers and a real jury ironically slaps down Microsoft as a potential world-record intellectual property (IP) infringer. Yup, Microsoft the purported victim of Linux, is in fact the major MP3 format predator, or so says the assemblage of 12 informed peers.

Wow, to be a lawyer for Microsoft -- to simultaneously play offense and defense on IP -- must feel like that llama thing from Dr. Doolittle, the pushmi-pullyu. You wonder if the defense strategists feed tips to the offense. Given the Alcatel-Lucent MP3 jury award, perhaps the offense ought to ignore the advice (it ain't intellectual, and it ain't property!).

Yes, litigating your way to software business success has its pitfalls, and it's ironies. Trouble for Microsoft is that it has the deepest pockets in town, and therefore an IP infringement magnet per none, whereas the Linux cup runnith over in all directions, with only a trickle available for a jury to potentially ransack. It just doesn't seem fair.

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Topics: Patents

About

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news edito... Full Bio

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