Nicholas Batik 's Techdirt Comments

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  • Antitrust Law Is Supposed To Protect Consumers, Not Competitors

    Nicholas Batik ( profile ), 14 Dec, 2007 @ 01:53pm

    Re: Re: It's not the bundling that's the issue

    Apparently you are not a web programmer.

    1. Back in the early to mid 90's when all other browsers were adding support for CSS, MS stopped all real development on IE, letting it languish as an HTML-only platform until the release of IE 5 in 2000 - an eternity in web-years (some will argue IE 3-4 had CSS but the implementation was so buggy and incomplete, I defy anyone to show me a CSS page that worked with it). Consequently, every web page created using CSS also had to have an IE HTML-only version - thus doubling (or more) the level of effort needed to launch a web site.

    With the release of IE 5 & 6, MS implemented an incorrect box model, and an non-standard DOM, again requiring programmers to write multiple versions of everything.

    Lest anyone get there knickers in a twist, yes, other browsers have had many instances of bad or incomplete implementations - the difference is those browser developers a.) worked with the standards groups to iron-out differences, and b.) released regular updates to fix the problems web developers encountered. Not so with MS.

    2. You may not remember Sun Micro's law suit with MS over Java. MS took the Java platform and modified it into a Windows-only implementation, so that all Java development on Windows would only work with Windows and IE. In a decision that stunned the web community, the court apparently failed to understand public licensing and allowed MS to get away with it.

    3. Even HTML was modified. Pick up any HTML reference and you will see a section of IE-only commands. For a while, other browser developers did the same, but due to the unfavorable response from web programmers, everyone but IE stopped implementing proprietary command structures.

    There is far too much to go into here, but that should at least give you a brief understanding of the annoyance MS has caused programmers for years. Opera's contention that some programmers/companies are not willing to do multiple versions of every site and therefore only develop IE versions is probably correct.

  • Trademark Law Gone Mad: J&J Sues American Red Cross Over Use Of Red Cross

    Nicholas Batik ( profile ), 11 Aug, 2007 @ 02:34pm

    Just a couple of things...

    1. A charitable, non-profit organization has a significant tax advantage over a for-profit corp. Consequently, part of the law regulating non-profits is that they cannot compete directly with for-profits or they will (or at least they are supposed to) loose their status and have to pay tax on their sales revenue. By creating competing products with J&J, the ARC has clearly ventured outside their non-profit status.

    2. As several have pointed out, a trademark is a symbol, IN CONTEXT, that is used to establish a brand identity and eliminate confusion between competing brands. The "Band Aid" example should not have been an infringement because J&J does not produce music, but the music promoters in an effort to come up with a "cleaver" name wandered into a gray area where talking about one immediately conjured thoughts of the other.

    3. The shape is not important - it is just a red herring in this discussion. It is far too easy to assume that anything with the word "cross" in it has a religious significance. In fact its definition is "two lines intersecting at right angles". The logo in question more resembles a "plus" than the Christian cross. Since ARC is not a religious organization and does seem more interested in adding money to their coffers, perhaps American Red Plus is more appropriate.

    4. The ARC operates as a quasi-governmental agency. If you recall during Katrina, the Fed turned over all responsibility for relief aid to the ARC. Consequently, as an "agency" of the government, they are protected from all law suits for any potential wrong-doings. Because the govt. protects them from liability, and their non-profit status shields them from corp. taxes, if they begin creating and selling the same products as J&J, they become a serious threat to J&J's very existence.

    5. Lest ANYONE think that ARC is a beneficial, charitable organization: I was with an emergency response rescue team who was re-deployed to assist in the Katrina disaster. While I was there, several women's shelters put out announcements they were completely out of clean clothes and blankets, diapers, baby formula, and children's food for all their refugees - some of whom had not eaten in over 24 hours. A group of church and community groups acquired the requested items and loaded cars and trucks to go to the shelters. They were stopped (yes, STOPPED) on the road by officials of ARC and ordered to turn around, because "these were not 'officially approved' supplies, and if we REALLY wanted to be helpful, to send money to the ARC".

    It should be noted that no aid reached the shelters from ARC. In fact, of the more than $1 billion donated to ARC during Katrina, only a small fraction has found its way to those in the disaster.

    If anyone from J&J reads this, I would be happy to donate to your legal fund if you promise to sue to have ARC disbanded, stripped to the bone, and sold off for parts.