Strategy (was Re: Improving copyright)

Niall Douglas s_fsfeurope2 at
Sat May 15 13:04:39 UTC 2004

On 15 May 2004 at 0:40, João Miguel Neves wrote:

> > The key battleground where software patents have and will continue
> > to be used at their ugliest will be the US. There is crucial to all
> > computer technology worldwide. If they could freeze Linux like AT&T
> > did to BSD, it's all that would be needed.
> > 
> I'm working in a way to solve that problem. It's strange, but
> possible... It's just too soon for details.

I had an idea for that - I don't know if it's similar to yours - 
companies could throw their software patents in a mutually owned 
holding company. If any of the members gets sued for patent 
infringement, the full weight of all the other patents is used to 
countersue and each member agrees to contribute their share of the 
legal costs.

If big enough, this system could render software patents 

> I'm not that sure about patent attacks from MS. They hired Phelps last
> year (the guy who set up IBM's patent extortion business) and they
> just cleaned up several litigation cases with over 3 000 million
> dollars in the last weeks. According to a portuguese MS employee, they
> aren't downsizing the litigation department.
> Well, you probably can understand what I'm expecting from Redmond in
> the next months.

I agree. However I think Phelps is there primarily to increase 
regular revenue streams as people aren't going to shell out every 18 
months for new Office and new Windows forever. However I do believe 
he'll be working on a contingency plan as I outlined.

Right now it'd hurt MS more than help it to kill Linux. Why? Because 
for anti-trust reasons MS needs a competitor to point at and say 
"we're not a monopoly look!". It's exactly why Intel tolerates AMD, 
in fact has even quietly helped it out when it looked about to fold a 
few years back.

However if its core businesses were to fall as they surely will some 
day, expect the gloves to come off. MS is building for that time.


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