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   Re: [xml-dev] Another Microsoft XML patent

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On 6/7/05, Alan Gutierrez <alan-xml-dev@engrm.com> 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 :-)

>     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.

>     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.


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