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   Re: [xml-dev] Another Microsoft XML patent

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* Michael Champion <michaelc.champion@gmail.com> [2005-06-07 16:43]:
> 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 :-)

    Are there other roles for me to play? Or is your take on this
    issue entirely two sided?

> >     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.

    If you don't feel that the huge patent portfolios are a threat
    to innovation, that this concentration of property doesn't pose
    a threat to compentition, if you see it merely as a matter of
    solid citizens versus gadflys, well, then I certianly don't want
    you to worry the way I do.

> >     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.
    I'll say it again. I don't see how the DoJ is going to protect
    a small firm from a frivolous patent takedown.
    Anti-trust only comes into play between larger players.

    It's as if your arguing that there isn't a problem because the
    only people enforcing frivolous patents are evil people, who
    will some day get their comeuppance. 

    I'm lashing out at big, bad corporations. I don't see it that way.

    The system is creating ample opporunities to litigate.
    It is going to hit small firms hard.

Alan Gutierrez - alan@engrm.com
    - http://engrm.com/blogometer/index.html
    - http://engrm.com/blogometer/rss.2.0.xml


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