M$’s Tax On Android/Linux

Here we go again. The soon-to-expire-of-old-age software patent on long filenames is bouncing around German courts and was ruled invalid…
“Microsoft’s FAT (File Allocation Table) patent, which concerns a "common name space for long and short filenames" was invalidated on Thursday, a spokeswoman for the Federal Patent Court said in an email Friday. She could not give the exact reasons for the court’s decision before the written judicial decision is released, which will take a few weeks.”

M$ has been raking in $billions on the basis of this patent as licensing fees ~$5 per unit. That’s pretty close to the crime of the century if you ask me, but it has all been perfectly legal until someone actually challenged M$ in court. Thank you, Google, for defending folks’ right to use the hardware they own.

See German court invalidates Microsoft patent used for Motorola phone sales ban.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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2 Responses to M$’s Tax On Android/Linux

  1. Mats Hagglund says:

    The great question might be like this: why the world is forced to use that old, tired and slow FAT-filesystem? What is this Genovese family style action all about?

  2. dougman says:

    Patent extortion….what this is about, is an decade old FAT32 (file allocation table long/short file name storage method) patent that Microsoft claims the Linux kernel violates.

    “I don’t understand how it’s even possible to patent any filesystem. It’s not a concept, it’s a variation of having a structured array of bytes on a block device.”

    If one actually wants to see what patents M$ uses against Linux and Android, look at the Barnes and Noble complaint against M$.

    http://www.geekwire.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/msvbandn.pdf

    http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=2011111122291296

    I looked up the patent in question ‘EP0618540’ in the German case and it does not link to anything in B&N complaint.

    “Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.

    It’s a breathtaking number. (By comparison, for instance, Verizon’s (Charts, Fortune 500) patent suit against Vonage (Charts), which now threatens to bankrupt the latter, was based on just seven patents, of which only three were found to be infringing.) “This is not a case of some accidental, unknowing infringement,” Gutierrez asserts. “There is an overwhelming number of patents being infringed.”

    The free world appears to be uncowed by Microsoft’s claims. Its master legal strategist is Eben Moglen, longtime counsel to the Free Software Foundation and the head of the Software Freedom Law Center, which counsels FOSS projects on how to protect themselves from patent aggression. (He’s also a professor on leave from Columbia Law School, where he teaches cyberlaw and the history of political economy.)

    Moglen contends that software is a mathematical algorithm and, as such, not patentable. (The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the question.) In any case, the fact that Microsoft might possess many relevant patents doesn’t impress him. “Numbers aren’t where the action is,” he says. “The action is in very tight qualitative analysis of individual situations.” Patents can be invalidated in court on numerous grounds, he observes. Others can easily be “invented around.” Still others might be valid, yet not infringed under the particular circumstances.”

    People, stock-holders and the link, have such disdain for companies that rather pursue suing instead of innovating.

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