Microsoft Loses Yet Another Patent Lawsuit

from the how's-that-looking-now? dept

In the last few years, Microsoft has become a bigger and bigger supporter of patents, which is a bit ironic, given that Bill Gates once pointed out that the software industry never would have developed if there had been software patents back in the early days. But, proving that new companies innovate, while older companies litigate, Microsoft has become a big patent hoarder in recent years. But, to date, while it's used those patents to threaten lots of companies, it seems like Microsoft's decision to live by patents, is actually costing it quite a bit of money.

We've already covered Microsoft's big loss to i4i at the end of last year, for which Microsoft was told to pay nearly $300 million. And, now, Microsoft has lost a patent lawsuit in East Texas (of course) from a company that appears to have been set up just to sue Microsoft -- claiming patents over VPN technology. In fact, the company's business plan basically admits that its business model is to win these sorts of lawsuits. Hard to see how that's promoting progress or innovation in any way. Oh well. Live by the patent, die by the patent, I guess...
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Filed Under: innovation, patents, vpn
Companies: microsoft, virnetx


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  1. icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), 17 Mar 2010 @ 4:52am

    Corporate Adolescents

    Mike Masnick,

    You must be using eyeglasses made from the bottoms of recycled old style eight ounce Coke bottles when looking at patent issues because that is the only way you could have such a distorted view.

    Most certainly Microsoft was built based on the kind of innovation which you rant about all the time where they took others' inventions. DR dos comes to mind as one notable example of this. And it is true that Microsoft waved their magic wand and produced a bunch of minor incremental inventions which is typical of companies which are unable to produce significant inventions.

    It is also true that Microsoft has been wounded by numerous small companies who had important technology and that they have repeatedly been caught with their sticky fingers in others patent cookie jars.

    Microsoft reminds me a a young punk with an entitlement mentality who has repeatedly received attitude adjustments. They are slowly growing up, maturing a bit at a time. They went from trying to take whatever they wanted to at least making an effort at producing the inventions they need. Since Microsoft is not capable of producing the most important inventions the next step is for Microsoft to start buying rights before use. There is hope that they are slowly, granted very slowly learning that they must start acting like responsible corporate citizens.

    In the meantime they will continue to start scraps and get the crap kicked out of them as will every other thief of patents property rights big and small :)

    By the way, I have an interesting political tidbit for you to chew on. I hear that Microsoft's relationship with the Coalition for Patent Piracy & Fairness is strained and that they may withdraw from the Piracy & Fairness Coalition. I also hear that Apple's work to weaken patents is about to bite then really bad because they have probably weakened their own patent rights while trying to facilitate their appropriation of others rights. Think about this and consider the implication for America's competitiveness. Be sure to remove those glasses first and bear in mind that reality altering drugs should not be used when attempting to get an analytical picture of things.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

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