Skip to comments.More trouble for Microsoft
Posted on 01/10/2005 3:24:45 PM PST by Peelod
Carrying over from last year, I predict that Burst.com will beat Microsoft in their current lawsuit. But to avoid having to eat crow again over timing, let me put this in greater context. IF a trial actually takes place, as it is now scheduled to do this summer, Burst will easily win. Microsoft is at a disadvantage already as a bully. Burst will probably get Judge Motz to tell the jury that Microsoft deliberately destroyed evidence, and it doesn't hurt, either, that Burst is just plain right on all counts -- Microsoft DID violate their patents, DID violate Burst's non-disclosure agreement, DID attempt to illegally put them out of business, and DID attempt to control the market.
Of course, Microsoft might settle before trial, but at this point, I don't think that is likely out of simple arrogance on Microsoft's part. Microsoft is furious with Burst for the little company's continued survival, plus Microsoft is listening to the wrong lawyers on this one. So Burst will win on some or all counts ,and I expect the damage award to be in the billions. Of course, Microsoft will appeal. But the key difference between this case and other Microsoft cases is that once Burst wins, Real Networks and Apple Computer, both of which are also infringing Burst's patents (along with TiVO and a bunch of other companies), will immediately buy Burst licenses, throwing $100+ million into Burst's coffers and leading to everyone else EXCEPT Microsoft taking a Burst license, too. At that point -- if it goes that far and Microsoft is that stupid -- Redmond won't be able to risk not having a Burst license and will settle, too. Only by waiting so long Microsoft will have blown any number of advantages it could have had. Typical.
(Excerpt) Read more at pbs.org ...
What does Burst make, and what does TiVo have to do with it?
Burst.com holds patents for more efficient transfer of data. Burst contends that this technology is being used without permission in Windows Media Player.
I have heard they are going to release a free anti-virus package and I can't wait. Say what you want, but Microsoft does software for the common man, the right way. They make it easy to use and affordable. Bill Gates, you da man!
If MicroSoft figures out the technology, even if there is a patent, can MS use it? pardon my ignorance
PS(I think that its Bursts and Bursts alone if they patented it, but I'm just wondering what the laws are, I'm not a patent lawyer - or a lawyer at all for that matter)
I hate to be picky, but do you mean no-cost software, or real free software? (I would guess the former. See gnu.org if you don't know what I'm talking about.) I think Richard Stallman is a bit of a crackpot, _but_ he basically called it correct decades ago that the software barons would use the law to control the future.
Yikes. This is one to keep an eye on. Thanks.
Cringely seems to write that Microsoft used information from the non-disclosure agreement to improve WMP. Emails during this period are now missing, hence the spoliation claim.
Hmm...that sounds like a case of out-and-out theft. Or more exactly, a sort of information embezzlement.
I'm a pretty freemarket guy, but as an engineer, there have to be laws that keep the individual inventor or small companies safe from behemoths who can sue the pants off anyone to get them to capitulate.
In the mid 90's Intel's legal costs made up 25% (!) of their total budget expenditures.
How is code theft viewed at Media Lab?
If you go thru Cringely's old columns, Intel is also involved.
Isn't Burst the bankrupt company that was bought by a bunch of lawyers years ago? I guess lawyers need to eat, too...
I haven't followed this case, so I am not sure if Microsoft is guilty of anything or not. But they do get wrongfully bullied a lot of times, most likely because they are so big, but in a lot of these cases Microsoft did nothing wrong.
Why would anyone, even a lawyer, buy a bankrupt company.
The company is not listed on the Naz.
Asking is not ignorant; it's simply requesting information. And I'm happy to respond. When you have a new and/or original idea, you can patent it. A patent is a declarion of what your idea is, how it works, and what problems it may solve. You then explain in legal terms (generally, in as vague terms as possible, to thereby have the broadest possible interpretation) how your idea works. The Patent Office studies your patent, and if it is original, or a non-obvious extension to an existing patent; will issue you a patent. If someone else figures out your idea, so what. You now OWN that idea for a period of 7 years (with possible extensions). The gov'ts goal is to protect the inventor, so he may capitolize off an idea. Anyone who uses your idea must do so with your permission, or risk legal infringement and levies. Usually, the court will issue a 'Cease and desist' order; which means that MS will be prohibited from continuing to use the idea from that day forward. As Media Player is a revenue stream for Microsoft, it would be in Microsoft's best interest to work out an 'arrangement'.
As the patent holder, especially if you get a cease and desist order, you can name your own price. You could say "Bill, I want $39 Kazillion, billion dollars paid to me in the form of 1987 nickles.
The idea is to arrange your royalties such that Micorsoft decides it's easier to write a check instead of changing your idea such that they can patent it themselves.
For example, if I patent a tri-cycle; you could patent a bi-cycle. The ideas are similar, but the bicycle is not an obvious extension of a tricycle. If you made your tricycle blue, and mine was red; otherwise they were identical, the change is not patentable. This gets rather abstract quickly. The idea is that if you patent something, and I can improve upon your idea, I can patent it too.
Microsoft has already declared this will be a subscription service. It won't be 'free' for very long.
In theory, that is. In practice, patents have been issued for stuff like "selling products over the Internet".
It's Microsoft, that alone tells me they're guilty of something.
My favorite Patent Abuse story is the lawsuit against EBay for the "Buy It Now" button
I have never believed that Microsoft was an evil empire. I love the rich! More power to them. However, isn't Gates a lib?
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