[rescue] fwd: Linux Foundation Prepares For Microsoft's Legal Action
adh at an.bradford.ma.us
Thu May 17 12:12:11 CDT 2007
By Charles Babcock, Courtesy of InformationWeek
May 14 2007 (18:30 PM)
The Linux Foundation is prepared to defend any Linux user charged with
violating Microsoft's patents, but executive director Jim Zemlin said
that a critical review of Windows code would show that it can be
claimed to violate other vendors' patents as well.
"If you use Windows, Solaris, [IBM's] AIX or any similar operating
system, you have the same patent infringement risk as using Linux.
Microsoft should be careful of what it starts because it doesn't know
where it will end," said Zemlin in an interview. Zemlin heads the
organization that resulted when the Open Source Development Labs
merged with the Free Standards Group in January. Both groups aided
targets of the SCO Group, when it filed suit against Linux users
AutoZone.com and DaimlerChrysler. SCO later dropped the AutoZone suit.
"Who are they going to sue? Companies will not continue to do business
with suppliers who sue them," said Zemlin.
Microsoft carefully avoided threatening to sue any Linux users while
nevertheless maintaining in a Fortune article today that 235 of its
patents are violated by various forms of open source code. Sun's Open
Office suite allegedly violated 45 of Microsoft patents, while the
Linux kernel allegedly violates 42 patents. Linux graphical user
interfaces violated another 65, Microsoft's general counsel Brad Smith
and chief of licensing Horacio Gutierrez stated in the Fortune story.
Zemlin noted that Microsoft continues to decline to name the patents
allegedly violated, which would let knowledgeable opinion to assess
its claims. It also may have never tested its patents in court.
Holding a patent doesn't guarantee victory in a patent dispute. The
patent needs to be upheld in a court case as covering a unique work.
"Claiming violations of untested patents is a lot different from
claiming violations of court tested patents," he said.
The Microsoft statements are meant to preserve Microsoft's Windows and
Office desktop monopolies, "the greatest cash cow ever created," he
asserted. By keeping as many people as possible for considering
alternatives, Microsoft is protecting a business that yields $34
million a day to its coffers, Zemlin said.
"Look at SCO or any other patent troll out there. It's nutty to think
you can sue your customers and keep their business," he said.
Andrew Hay the genius nature
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