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   RE: [xml-dev] Another Microsoft XML patent

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You (Fuller, etc.) don't have to form a union.

That is what a standards keiretsu is.  It mutually indemnifies 
members who contribute technology.  Contractually, it is the 
best defense because it both protects against predation and 
it creates standards.   Check the membership or participation 
agreements closely.  Otherwise in areas such as 3D, we 
see companies such as Intel with deep pockets attempting 
to create faux standards (see 3DIF) and using their muscle 
to make client companies acquiesce.

Microsoft has a neat variation on that theme.  They hire 
marketing companies to create so-called 'alliances' that 
are actually marketing fronts who sponsor the use of their 
technology (say BizTalk) in markets where they want to 
obtain presence particularly where they have been rebuffed 
by the large government clients.  By combining this with 
predatory patents, they can muscle the companies with
legitimate presence in those markets to join (and offering 
other incentives).  I say neat because this is legal.

There is an excellent article on CNet from the HBS that 
models the Microsoft vs Linux battle and how MS can maintain 
their hegemony particularly if they enable piracy of their 
own OS products.

The game could be played both ways if the standards keiretsu 
virtuously  and rapidly begin to copyright code and patent 
operating systems concepts.  It is a horse race to see who 
outlicenses whom.  It is the software equivalent of the 
right-wing 'nuclear option' in American politics (vote 
away the right to filibuster).

The ultimate result is a sharp increase in piracy.


ps:  reading the mail further, I see Mike C. makes 
the same analogy.  It's MAD for sure.  What me worry?

From: Alan Gutierrez [mailto:alan-xml-dev@engrm.com]

    I've often thought of some sort of patent union for small
    firms, open source developers, a treaty organization. The Apache
    2.0 License does something like this.
    One could use the resource that Len has proposed, to assist
    individuals in authoring their patent applications, perhaps
    partnering with a legal team that would integrate in a way that
    their hours per application is affortable.


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