Delay in SCO justice gives Microsoft hope

Delay in SCO justice gives Microsoft hope

Summary: SCO lost. Novell owns the UnixWare copyrights SCO claimed. So does this mean any legal threat from Microsoft against Linux is over? I don't think so. Here's why.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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Bill Gatus of Borg from Boardwatch MagazineSCO lost. Novell owns the UnixWare copyrights SCO claimed.

So does this mean any legal threat from Microsoft against Linux is over?

I don't think so. Here's why.

  1. Microsoft's claims are based on patents, and copyright is not at issue. That's what tripped up SCO.
  2. The SCO case cost millions of dollars to litigate. The threat of such expenses, even if they were right, must have been part of the calculus Linux vendors used before signing with Microsoft.
  3. Novell, which won the copyright portion of the SCO suit, signed the Microsoft patent deal.
  4. SCO went at the top of the food chain, attacking IBM first. Any Microsoft strategy will deal first with smaller vendors. That has been its business strategy since Novell.

Now there is hope on the other side. Getting Google into the Open Invention Network is a big deal. IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony are also part of this patent commons.

Before going to court Microsoft needs to craft a case which will not bring in the OIN, against a vendor too small to protect itself. Killing some small vendor will put the fear of Redmond back into the market.

One more point. Microsoft has some very, very smart lawyers.

This story is not over.  

Topic: Microsoft

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137 comments
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  • You are full of

    crap! Have a good day and find a job at local Home Depot
    PaulWallen
  • No doubt..

    I have no doubt that it's coming.

    MS is under tremendous pressure. Desktop Linux is a viable alternative to Windows. Many people are not happy with Vista.

    MS still has overwhelming market share but when that starts slip, even a little, there are no tactics they won't use to try and kill FOSS. They will however fail. Any attack will mobilize an army of FOSS advocates to fight their claims on every level. Much as the community exposed every flaw in SCO's claims. This is the kind support that MS with all of their money cannot buy.

    It's pretty sad that MS is creating a climate of fear to sell products instead of creating compelling products that people will freely choose on the merits of the software.
    Tim Patterson
    • I liked that water interface

      There are a lot of areas where innovation is needed, and Microsoft came up with one. Which is good.

      Too bad it wasn't as good as the Nintendo Wii joystick.
      DanaBlankenhorn
    • The COUPONS..

      ..the coupons MS distributed WITHOUT an expiration date!!
      After portions of LINUX OR OSS are going to GPLv3, MS has no leg to stand on with the patent FUD!!
      AND don't forget the recent court ruling about patents.
      AND MS doesn't want to have to proof the patents in court, since the majority would be rescinded for "prior art" etc.
      As I said, MS doesn't have a leg to stand on!!
      wolf8
  • Answers

    1. A case doesn't have to be won to be successful.
    2. Since Novell, Microsoft has signed deals with small distro vendors.
    3. The point is that in this pending case Microsoft would have Novell at its legal side, whether willingly or unwillingly. Novell signed a deal in which Microsoft claimed it had violated patents.
    4. The main case was SCO vs. IBM, and IBM is a big company.

    Finally, you have one thing absolutely correct. Microsoft is not stupid.
    DanaBlankenhorn
    • Red Hat

      Red Hat sued SCO over its unsubstantiated claims of copyright infringement, alleging unfair competition. Since MS appears to be doing much the same thing that SCO was, except that their unsubstantiated claims relate to patents, a victory for Red Hat would set a very bad precedent from MS' point of view.
      John L. Ries
      • I see your mistake...

        "Since MS appears to be doing much the same thing that SCO was..."

        No, the FSF and OSRM are doing it. ;-)
        No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Please be complete in your reporting

      Novell was very quick to deny agreeing that there was a patent threat against linux from MS. They specifically stated they do not think linux infringes on any MS patents. Further more in the Novell deal MS payed a lot more to Novell then Novell did to MS. Maybe it was MS buying protection from Novell patents and not the other way around.

      MS is trying to pull an sco by not revealing wich patents it thinks are at question. They know fully well that giving that information will likely result in a tidalwave of requests to re-examine the patents in question which would probably result in a lot of them being revoked. We have all seen what rediculous patents have been granted.

      What's even more interesting is that the window of opportunity is closing fast for MS. It has now publicly stated they think these patents are infringed upon by Linux and they can not afford not to take action, legaly, because you can not claim damages if the other party has asked for specifics and you do not give them. Patent law requires you to give the infringer the opportunity to remedy the situation. Something that can only be done if MS is willing to name the patents.
      NemesisNL
      • Ok you...

        "They specifically stated they do not think linux infringes on any MS patents."

        Sounds like someone is guessing to me here. Part of "DO NOT THINK" but not sure kind of says it all.

        "What's even more interesting is that the window of opportunity is closing fast for MS. It has now publicly stated they think these patents are infringed upon by Linux and they can not afford not to take action, legaly, because you can not claim damages if the other party has asked for specifics and you do not give them. Patent law requires you to give the infringer the opportunity to remedy the situation. Something that can only be done if MS is willing to name the patents. "

        From what I see, Microsoft HAS always tried to work with others in cross licensing so it would be beneficial to both unlike with OSS, Pretty much free for all massive buffet.
        lenohere
        • What a load of...

          Firstly, anyone who knows anything about patents knows that it is impossible to state with any certainty that you do not infringe [i]any[/i] of company X's patents due to the impossibility of comprehensively searching every last patent within a timframe, and at a cost, that wouldn't just bury your company. It is not an implicit admission of anything.

          Secondly, license or we won't even tell you what the patents are is not a reasonable chance to resolve. A reasonable chance to resolve gives people an opportunity to make a choice between licensing, challenging the patent or removing the infringement. As MS has not given people this choice, it's not a reasonable attempt to resolve the situation.
          odubtaig
          • You say that as if FSF is clueless

            about what patents are infringing when the OSRM gave them a list of several hundred.

            Is this a WELL DUH moment for you?
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Now you've lost me.

            Was that even in reply to my comment or are you having a 'moment'? I was referring to Novell.

            As for the FSF, who never received anything from OSRM, their position is that which I have just stated above.
            odubtaig
          • Projection again

            [i][/i]
            Yagotta B. Kidding
          • Think about it..

            "Firstly, anyone who knows anything about patents knows that it is impossible to state with any certainty that you do not infringe any of company X's patents due to the impossibility of comprehensively searching every last patent within a timframe, and at a cost, that wouldn't just bury your company. It is not an implicit admission of anything."

            I'm sorry but if you are going to put out a statement of any kind, especially about this, You either ARE or NOT, Not this well I think I am not kind of nonense. This would seriously make me wonder if I would want to use their product.

            And don't they already have a list of the things that could be infringing?
            lenohere
          • Nope.

            An insurance company (OSRM) has one list which has not been released outside of the company, ostensibly because it would put developers at greater risk of heftier legal problems if they 'knew' of the patents. Even they say these patents are unlikely to be enforceable, and it's their business to insure against patent litigation.

            Now, after the amount of problems Microsoft has had with patent trolls as well as the mp3 patents, even they'd be hard pushed to say they [u]know[/u] they're not infringing.
            odubtaig
      • Yes and no... Its all about big business.

        All MS needs to do is point to the FSF/OSRM study that says there are probable patent infringments for big business to shy away.

        Not all battles need be fought in the court room.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • partly wrong

          If you make the statement you are required by patent law to give the supposed infringer the chanche to remedy the situation. Cross patenting deals with distributors means nothing at all....they are NOT the ones infringing. The developers of that fast amount of os software are the ones.

          As long as MS does not state which 230+ patents are suposedly infringing they are preventing the suposed infringers to excercise their right under patent law....to remedy the situation. No damages can be claimed and if a trial should ever come to be they would still be required to give the supposed infringer the opportunity to get into compliance by removing the infringment or by taking up a liscence.

          As for the part of scaring buisiness away.... Nah.... MS has been proven to be liberal in it's use of other peoples code. They do just fine. So will the rest of the world. MS has another problem here... The code in question is open for all to see and has been for ages. If they are so concerned why did they not speak up earlier? That is something they would have to adress in court because patent law demands you protect your patent once it's given. Sitting on a patent for years waiting for the oponent to build a buisiness around that patent is not allowed. If you do not enforce your patent you can not claim damages. I think MS wouldn't publicly state Linux infringes on their patents if they realy meant to enforce them in court. These patents only have fud value and they are desperatly trying to milk it.
          NemesisNL
    • More regarding answers.

      Unfortunately, nobody has yet brought forth the fact that the "playing field" (i.e. the courts) itself is totally corrupt and has been for at least 70+ years. Further, just about all of the law allowing software patents to exist and what software can be patented shares that same corruption. Finally, the U.S. patent office has been using very questionable standards in issuing software patents. What is the common theme in all of this? Control and revenue collection. Open source allows someone to get lots of very useful software without having to continue to pay and pay through the nose for it and without being controlled in how they use it or what they use it for. That goes against the "money" fraud and the fraudulent courts that exist in the United States. Therefore, the government in the United States is continuing to use tools (i.e. SCO, Microsoft) and its fraudulent courts to wipe out open source.

      Evidence of the total corruption of the United States government is at http://home.absolute.net/xode/nwofraud/Bankruptcy_Fraud/Bankfraud1.htm

      ...and that evidence needs to be brought forth immediately.
      xode9
      • Huh?

        Not that I'm one to defend the actions of governments in may things but if the court system is corrupt then it would be logical to assume that SCO would have won, right?

        SCO lost. Nuff said.

        ttfn

        John
        TtfnJohn
    • OIN will get involved

      Regardless of the size of the vendor OIN will have to get involved in any action that Microsoft brings or it will instantly lose credibility.

      Which leads us back to one of your mistakes that SCO went after a fish at the top of the food chain. Should Microsoft act they'll end up in the same position. Being at the top of the food chain themselves it would be very interesting.

      And no, Microsoft is not stupid. They know the difference between sabre rattling for the sake of a headline seeking media and trying the same thing in the courts.

      It's one thing to say that open source violates patents without specifying which ones to the media and quite another to try that stunt in court.

      If Microsoft had stated which patents I'd have had more respect for them. But that wasn't and isn't the point. In FUD you don't need to be specific all you need to do is plant doubt.

      My opinion, for what it's worth, is that this kind of FUD has had its day with SCO's defeat.

      Another error in logic is that Novell would necessarily be drawn in on Microsoft's side in any case they might bring. Novell has insisted from the start that the deal has nothing to do with open source violating any Microsoft patent. All of which means the deal with Novell could turn onto a nasy double edged sword if hell freezes over and anything ends up in court.

      ttfn

      John
      TtfnJohn