why MS was not sued over this
Posted Oct 15, 2007 21:10 UTC (Mon) by tialaramex
In reply to: why MS was not sued over this
Parent article: A visit from the trolls
Possible but unlikely. Most aspects of a modern windowing system are patented, in the 1980s there were dozens of companies trying to revolutionise the computer, most of them failed but left a minefield of patents behind to mark their trail. As I pointed out in a previous thread, Microsoft is routinely on the receiving end of lawsuits exactly like this one, alleging that new software or other products is infringing on some patent granted years ago to a now defunct company.
Part of our problem is that not only software patents, but all patents are crippled as an economic motivation by the fact that many inventions are arrived at by many people almost simultaneously once the constituent parts become available. You don't need a patent system to encourage such inventions, they'll occur automatically. No kind of government granted monopoly on production could have caused the home computer to arrive in the 1960s when the technology to build them didn't exist, and no lack of such government intervention could conceivably have delayed it into the 1980s when such technology already abounded everywhere, so why allow a 20 year patent on such innovations even when they seem substantial at the time ? Even a patent promising protection for 12 months from the release of the first product would be more than generous in such an environment.
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