Why Is It News That Microsoft Won't Enforce A Patent?
from the why-did-they-bother-in-the-first-place? dept
Microsoft is getting some attention today for the announcement that they won’t enforce patents on certain web services specs that they hold. It’s a bit telling that this is seen as a big, positive deal. However, it should be seen as yet another indictment of the patent system. First of all, it makes perfect sense not to enforce them. Part of the value of web services are in the network effects of having them more widely used. However, what benefit was the patent system in this case? Did it incent Microsoft to create the specifications? Nope. Did it help Microsoft earn any money? Nope. Did it keep some developers afraid for a while about whether or not they’d have to pay a toll to Microsoft? Sure. The only thing this really did was cost Microsoft money in terms of lawyers and patent filing fees — as well as slow down the ecosystem they are now trying to promote. The reason certainly wasn’t to stop others from patenting the technology. If that were the case, they could have just published the info early on and had all the prior art they needed.