Re: Another Microsoft XML patent
* Michael Champion <michaelc.champion@g...> [2005-06-07 16:43]: > On 6/7/05, Alan Gutierrez <alan-xml-dev@e...> wrote: > > > I feel, as an individual, that I'm being lumped together with > > Kim Jong-il, simply because I'm not a major power. > > Do you have a patent on an obvious idea that is widely implemented by > profitable vendors, and are planning to sue MS, Oracle, IBM, etc. for > a few hundred million dollars? If not, you're not playing the Kim > Jong Il role :-) Are there other roles for me to play? Or is your take on this issue entirely two sided? > > This is hardly reassuring for the lone practitioner. > I've heard all this rhetoric about Big Evil Co shutting down lone > practicioners with their bogus patents, but nobody has cited a > single real case. Just today we had yet another example of a lone > practicioner with a patent on something obvious (even in 1990 - > remember DDE?) trying to shake down Microsoft for $500 million, > and "only" getting $8 million for his trouble. I admit to a bit > of bias considering on which side my bread is buttered, but maybe > Symantec *should* have patented the obvious idea of virus > filtering during file transfer, and MS should have patented the > obvious idea of getting data out of a database and into a > spreadsheet when they had the chance. NOT because they could have > stomped the small fry with their gorilla feet, but because they > could have saved $70 million between them (not counting legal > fees) on these two cases alone. If you don't feel that the huge patent portfolios are a threat to innovation, that this concentration of property doesn't pose a threat to compentition, if you see it merely as a matter of solid citizens versus gadflys, well, then I certianly don't want you to worry the way I do. > > That is not a lot of forces. All I've heard specifically is > > corporate image and anti-trust law. > Consider IBM in the 1980's after their Consent Decree with the DoJ > that settled a long running antitrust case. Many observers blame > IBM's extremely poor (from their point of view, not the rest of the > world's!) decision making with respect to their PC architecture, the > rights to the PC operating system, etc. on their paranoia about > re-opening the antitrust case. They very nearly let the company die a > slow lingering death in the late '80s / early '90s rather than play > gorilla and face the DoJ again. That is one BIG force. I'll say it again. I don't see how the DoJ is going to protect a small firm from a frivolous patent takedown. Anti-trust only comes into play between larger players. It's as if your arguing that there isn't a problem because the only people enforcing frivolous patents are evil people, who will some day get their comeuppance. I'm lashing out at big, bad corporations. I don't see it that way. The system is creating ample opporunities to litigate. It is going to hit small firms hard. -- Alan Gutierrez - alan@e... - http://engrm.com/blogometer/index.html - http://engrm.com/blogometer/rss.2.0.xml
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