Microsoft Discovers That Even Languages Have Intellectual Property Issues
from the no-translating-without-a-license dept
Intellectual property issues just keep getting odder and odder, and Microsoft (who is certainly no stranger to extreme intellectual property ownership claims) may now be facing two separate challenges having to do with languages. The first is over in South Korea, where the company is potentially facing an injunction after a firm claims a patent over switching computer input mode between Korean and English, as is found in Microsoft's Office suite. However, much more bizarre is the lawsuit the company is facing down in Chile where Microsoft dared to offer a version of its software in the Mapuzugun language used by about 400,000 indigenous Chileans without first getting the permission of Mapuche tribal leaders. The tribal leaders are claiming that this is "intellectual piracy," though that seems like a rather difficult stance to defend legally. Either way, it suggests just how far the concept of "intellectual property" is permeating, and just how ridiculous the situations that result from its spread are. Once you start claiming "ownership" of ideas or concepts (or languages), it opens up a whole new world of problems.