Hoisted By Their Own Patented Petard

Microsoft is used to battling with software patents, both as the prosecution and defence, but now find themselves on the receiving end of an injunction that stops them selling XML-capable Microsoft Word in the US. They have 60 days to comply and/or appeal, and owe i4i a cool US$250 million for the infringement. Some are happy to view this as karma, I view it as yet another example of why software patents are a bad idea.

If New Zealand is foolish enough to allow them, any software development in NZ will be restricted by the activities of large patent trolls and the owners of foreign patent portfolios. Unless you have the backing of a major international company, you won’t be able to develop software without fear of prosecution or straightforward legal terrorism. The damage caused to NZ’s IT industry will be unimaginable.

Now, would someone like to remind me what patents are supposed to do for us? Right, encourage innovation. Clearly they do not do so in the field of computer software, and so equally clearly they should not be granted in New Zealand. You might mention that to your MP, you know, just to preserve your job and everything.

Vik :v)

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