M$ has sued Barnes and Noble over software patents. B&N’s search for prior art to discredit these so-called inventions is voluminous, 45 pages just to list them.
The reason B&N can do that so easily is that there is rarely anything new in software. The machines limit the possible steps to what will fit in storage. Anything is possible and if you know how to do X and Y, you automatically know how to do X+Y. It’s obvious and so unpatentable. It’s so hilarious. At one point, B&N even lists IE 1.0 as prior art preventing an invention being patentable. It’s true. M$ filed a patent application for something it had already inflicted on the public. Patents may only be issued for something novel. No matter how many hundreds of patents M$ claims Linux violates, Linux violates nothing because it’s all been done before M$ even existed and patents if any from the good old days have long since expired.
Good for B&N. When they win, M$ will be a toothless old dog with a bark much worse than its bite. I do not expect M$ to be able to buy off B&N to hide things in Non-Disclosure Agreements. That’s why B&N fought while others paid up. B&N does not make its living primarily from software and can survive without M$’s stuff or Google’s stuff. M$ is not a threat to B&N, just an annoyance. Further, a big win by B&N will call into doubt all software patents. I expect M$ will drag this issue all the way up the food-chain to SCOTUS and lose there once and for all, freeing GNU/Linux from a ton of FUD. M$ can bluff many times but the first time their bluff is called publicly the whole house of cards that is software patents will fall.