back to article Troll blockers take Microsoft SGI patents

Microsoft has placed a clutch of Silicon Graphics patents in the hands of those trying to defend Linux and open-source against trolls. The Open Invention Network (OIN) has taken ownership of 22 patents covering operating systems, desktop, and browsers applications, after they were bought from Microsoft by middleman Allied …


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  1. Ray Gratis

    "OIN was founded in 1995..."

    Or maybe 2005

  2. Lars Silver badge

    quite revealing

    "so many patents are badly written, which give the trolls room to maneuver."

    Astonishing how this software patent rubbish lives on year after year.

    I remembered that defending your self costs about $1m a day, But from $3.5 to $5bn for one case is just something. Starting to understand TomTom.

  3. Timo

    enforcing a patent costs money too

    Enforcing a patent also costs a LOT of money. Over time that money adds up. So Microsoft may have done a business determination that those few assorted patents are not worth the money it cost to maintain and enforce them over the years.

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Microsoft - about as ethical as a guy testing spells from the Necronomicon.

    Apart from that

    "The cost to defend a patent action ranges from $3.5 to $5bn"

    wouldn't that be "millions"? Or are banks now owned by "Intellectual Property" lawyers?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A paranoids' take

    Microsoft already knows the short-comings of these older patents in light of the current competition. They get the money from the sale and competitive knowledge against whoever uses them in an open-source product. Plus they are shielded from open-source and patent infringement.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Way to go Microsoft

    Credit where it is due. This is the sort of behaviour by the Redmond entity that everyone should encourage. I may be unduly naive but I can't see how an anti-microsoft spin can be put on this

  7. Darren 4

    Trimming the Fat?

    Sound as though Microsoft are trimming the fat to me. Albeit they could have learned what they wanted and found better ways to do/approach things as a result, so the patent is now deadwood. Which in this climate no one wants...

  8. aldude

    @Destroy All Monsters

    MS just sold the patents to the highest bidder, not caring who they were. I don't think that's unethical, that's just meeting the desires of the shareholders. Anybody who says MS is unethical or has done wrong here is just an ill-informed anti-MS sheep.

    Also, the $3.5-5bn figure seems a bit high - millions is probably more like it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    am i the only one that read that as patients?

  10. Sad Git

    Sue All Patent Trolls!

    We need the Americans to start a Class Action against the Patent Trolls!

    The Patent is there to protect the inventor from someone copying their invention.

    The Trolls have no intention of developing a product based on the patents they hold.

    In such a case they should lose the right to the patent.

    That feels better now I've got that off my chest!

  11. Tim Croydon

    @Microsoft - about as ethical as a guy testing spells from the Necronomicon

    $3.5 *million* to $5 *billion* sounds about right.

    Look at Qualcomm/Nokia. Nokia paid $2.3bn just to settle. And they'd have had tens of millions of legal costs on top of that.

  12. copsewood
    Gates Horns

    Burning the furniture to stay warm

    What else does Microsoft have to sell other than so called intellectual property ? The unpopularity of Vista combined with recession delayed PC purchasing decisions have created a hole in the finances of a business done pyramid style because it doesn't account employee share options as a cost:

    I'm told various other large recession-hit businesses are being creative to generate cash flow in order to stay afloat.

  13. GreyCells

    Microsoft probably can't sell directly to OIN...

    ... doesn't OIN have a 'we all agree not to sue each other policy'?

  14. Doug

    Microsoft patents and the OIN

    This ..

    "Microsoft has placed a clutch of Silicon Graphics patents in the hands of those trying to defend Linux and open-source against trolls"

    Does not equate to this ..

    "Microsoft didn't directly approach the OIN - one of the industry's largest buyers of patents - and went through the AST instead"

    And there is no evidence that MS intended the patents to end up in the hands of the OIN

  15. Arkasha

    Baldrick, I have a cunning plan...

    I'm going to patent the process of patent trolling and get money out of all those patent trolls...

  16. Grease Monkey Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Patent law is an ass

    The very fact that patents can be bought and sold is ridiculous. Exclusively licensed would be fine.

    The fact that people/organisations are allowed to hold patents that they do no actively use in manufacturing or selling goods is also a joke.

    I know this isn't really relevant to this article, but...

    Where patents are not actively used by the patent holder or a licensee for a given period they should be declared void and enter the public domain. Holding a patent purely with the intention of waiting until somebody infringes is not in the original spirit of the patent system and should be stamped out. The whole idea of a company that exists solely to buy up other people's IP is abhorrent.

  17. Barracoder

    This whole article is a waste of a url

    Here's an accurate precis:

    Microsoft had old patents on which it wasn't making money. It sold them to a company who sold them to Linux community people who think they're worth something. Linux community breathes sigh of relief that they weren't sold to trolls. Linux community still think Microsoft is evil, regardless of evidence to the contrary in that Microsoft never bothered to enforce said patents.

    The End.

    Now you can go back to watching Countdown.

  18. Tim Croydon

    @Baldrick, I have a cunning plan..

    Too late, someone's already patented it!

  19. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Companies should not be allowed to hold patents

    Intellectual property is created by people, not by companies. People may need the funding of companies to create, but they are the ones creating.

    This whole patent mess is directly the cause of letting patents obey the law of the market. Remove patents from the market, and the mess goes away by itself.

    So patents should be the sole right of the individuals that put their name on the patent. Only those individuals can decide who has the right to exploit the patent they have. Rights to the patent cannot be sold. Rights to exploit the patent cannot be sold without the express consent of the individuals who own the patent. When said individuals die, the patent lapses into the public domain.

    Of course, that leaves the possibility of companies killing the individuals that hold a patent in order for it to fall into the public domain, but I think we already have enough laws to deal with that consequence.

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