Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 27th Aug 2010 22:11 UTC, submitted by lfeagan
Legal Most of us here are not particularly big fans of the concept of patents. Most of us are aware of the significance of patents, we just believe the system has gone out of control and needs a serious kick in the butt. Well, it turns out not even the richest people on this earth are immune to the call of the patent troll. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has filed a massive patent lawsuit, using broad and vague patents to sue just about any big name in the business - from Apple to Google.
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Member since:

I don't want to hear anything bad about Microsoft on this matter. If you have a problem with Paul, have a problem with Paul and leave it at that.

Sorry you don't want to hear it, but Microsoft is a major part of the whole patent problem (not just this case specifically). Since the 1980s, they've lobbied hard to bring us this whole rotten software patent system. Microsoft was one of the key companies (but not the only one) that forced software patents onto Japan and Australia. They tried (but fortunately failed) to ram software patents down the throat of the EU. If Microsoft had used its considerable lobbying power to fight software patents (rather than promote them) it's possible this whole f*cked-up system wouldn't exist.

I admit that Microsoft isn't the only villain in the patent wars. However, they've probably done more damage to America's intellectual property laws than any other single corporation. Every single software patent lawsuit has Microsoft's fingerprints on it (along with IBM's, another notable patent troll). Ditto for Apple, Oracle, Nokia, Lexmark, Intel.

This was quoted by Fred Warshofsky in "The Patent Wars" of 1994. The text is from an internal memo written by Bill Gates to his staff. Part of has appeared in another Gates memos.
"If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. ... The solution is patenting as much as we can. A future startup with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price might be high. Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors."

Reply Parent Score: 6

Stephen! Member since:

They tried (but fortunately failed) to ram software patents down the throat of the EU.

Given their tendency to fine Microsoft, it doesn't seem like the EU would want to do them any favours.

Reply Parent Score: 1