Free Software friendly patent pools
Posted Aug 27, 2010 13:53 UTC (Fri) by FlorianMueller
In reply to: Free Software friendly patent pools
Parent article: A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle
That seems written by someone advocating for Microsoft software patent trolling as long as they can be payed off under "fair and reasonable" terms.
I absolutely reject the allegation that I'm "advocating" for that. All I did in my posting on Microsoft's use of patents is explain that there are two things a company can do if it wants to benefit from its patents, and what they do is the more cooperative approach than that taken by Apple in the HTC case or IBM in the TurboHercules case (or Google with respect to its search engine patents, to which it doesn't grant anyone a license).
I made it very clear in that posting that I'm against software patents. No software patents, no royalties. But it's an important distinction to make whether patents are used as a revenue source or for exclusionary purposes. In fact, a lot of the uncertainty surrounding Oracle vs. Google is that Oracle hasn't said in public what it seeks to achieve. In Microsoft's case it's always been clear that they want royalties on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
Ideally, companies wouldn't do anything with those patents, but that's not realistic given that shareholders do expect them to derive value from their assets. If we want them to do nothing with those patents, we have to get rid of those patents.
His only real point with regard to OIN seems to be that the system components list would need a refresh.
Another misconception about my positions.
I have commented on the OIN several times. Most recently, I explained that its inability to prevent Oracle from suing Google is a huge failure. The definition of the system components list doesn't just need a "refresh". They do refresh it from time to time. The problem is that it's put together in a totally intransparent process and there aren't any objective criteria. It's arbitrary. I had made four alternative suggestions for how to address that problem.
I mentioned other issues related to OIN's intransparency on other occasions, such as the lack of clarity concerning what the rights and obligations of an "associate member" are (Canonical became the first one).
In my first posting on OIN, I pointed out various issues, including intransparency and arbitrariness as well as the fact that there's no indication it has ever really strengthened the position of a company under attack. With companies like Amazon, HTC, Salesforce, TomTom etc. paying Microsoft royalties on patents which (at least some of which) read on Linux, it's pretty clear the OIN can't do what it's supposed to do, so the question is what it's actually about.
to post comments)