Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Patents: MS vs InterTrust

Fortune.com reports that Microsoft suffered a crucial defeat in a pre-trial hearing. The case revolves around a company called InterTrust which claims that MS is infringing on its patents, which cover digital rights management and trusted computing. InterTrust is now looking for a settlement, the size of which will probably be at least 10 digits long.
This is perhaps an unusual case for me because I’m feeling sorry for MS. You probably know by now that I’m generally anti-MS, that the only MS program I use on this computer is Windows and that as soon as I find Linux easy enough to use every day I’ll be switching. But you may also know that I think software patents suck, particularly in the US where you can patent very vague ideas and then rake in the megabucks when someone releases something that possibly infringes it.
Patenting just doesn’t work in a computing environment. What if HTML was patented, and every organisation that made web editing software had to pay $1 per copy sold to the World Wide Web Consortium? And then if anyone tried to create a similar open systen, they’d have their arses sued for infringement? The web wouldn’t have taken off.
Of course, this may be related to the fact that I’m also against DRM and trusted computing, but there you go.
Anyway, I think that’s enough ranting for this evening – I’m off to watch the grand final of Big Brother IV. Who do I want to win? Probably Scott or Cameron, I’m not sure which. Not Ray though, I find him a bit annoying. He swears too much.

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