I was reminded today that it has now been a year since Microsoft made its claim that Linux violates hundreds of its patents.
In the year since Microsoft has used this FUD like a bargaining chip. It has sued no one. It has not pressed its patent claims against anyone.
This is remarkable given the fact that patents don't last forever. Unlike copyright, patent rights have not been extended into the lives of our great-great-great grandchildren.
Instead Microsoft has used these claims in a way the tailors, in the tale of the Emperor with his new clothes, could only have dreamed of doing. (The musical version of this tale was done in Allentown, Penn. last summer.)
They have signed innumerable contracts based on the claims, contracts which assume the truth of the claims, and caused the production of products whose chief selling point is that their makers admit the legitimacy of the claims.
Microsoft seems in no hurry to change the status quo. They are not going to put up, in the form of a lawsuit. They are not going to shut up, either, given the commercial advantages they have created.
Open source advocates have two options. They can ignore the Microsoft claims and wait for the patents in question to expire, or they can bring suit based on claims of harm from bogus patents.
Which do you recommend?[poll id=80]