back to article Microsoft milks Casio for using Linux

In the latest news from the tech world's ongoing global hunt to find someone to sue over/deal with on patents, Microsoft has signed a licensing agreement with Casio. The "broad, multiyear" contract, which neither party will put a price to, will help protect Casio devices that use Linux. While Linux is supposed to be open …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “We’re pleased to reach an agreement and to see continued recognition of the value of our patent portfolio, particularly as it relates to operating systems..”

    There's just something cold, calculating and downright nasty about that statement. And there are people who are happy to do business with these arseholes?

    One day, their day of reckoning will come. When it comes, I'll be standing on the sidelines and cheering as those trolls get reamed with their own weaponry. I hope it's hard, relentless, and doesn't stop until there's nothing left but smouldering ruins. I hope I find myself in a position to put a few boots in myself. Yes, that's a nasty statement to make. At least I'm being honest about my animosity. Anonymous? Well, I'm hoping to have a career in IT you know. Wouldn't do to let such wankers know my name, would it?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What complete...

    ... jackasses.

    1. nyelvmark
      Thumb Down

      And there people who are happy to do business with these arseholes?

      Yes. It's called capitalism. The quote you refer to is a bog-standard publicity release. It says nothing whatsoever, and certainly isn't written by senior management.

      >> Anonymous? Well, I'm hoping to have a career in IT you know. Wouldn't do to let such wankers know my name, would it?

      By the time you've qualified for such a career - if, indeed, you do so - I hope you'll have grown out of such childish vituperation. Business is business - if it makes you money it's good, if it loses you money it's bad. Bad publicity can lose you a bit of money, which is why massive corporations employ PR people to produce cute-sounding but meaningless statements like this. Ask Casio for a statement and you will find that they are "pleased with the new arrangement, which should lead to great new areas of growth for both companies", or some such bullshit.

      Oh, and many of my best friends are wankers. Come to think of it, all of them are. What's up with you, weirdo?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        "Business is business"

        No, the original poster is right.

        It's bad enough for Microsoft to send around their bully boys to extort money for these dubious claims (remember, they have likely not substantiated or proven them, just leant on Casio hard enough that they would prefer to stay out of court), but they "dress it up" to the outside world as though MS and Casio are the best of mates and they are both signing on the dotted line for their mutual benefit rather than the obvious shafting that it is.

        Bollocks I say.

        MS are giving it to Casio up the arse and telling everyone that they love it and want more.

        Bastards they are.

      2. TheOtherHobbbes

        Well then

        "By the time you've qualified for such a career - if, indeed, you do so - I hope you'll have grown out of such childish vituperation. Business is business - if it makes you money it's good, if it loses you money it's bad."

        Perhaps one day you'll realise how adolescent, inane and poorly educated these sentiments sound.

        In the meantime, here's a clue - MS, Apple, and the other dinosaurs have literally cost the economy billions, if not trillions, by evangelising and strong-arming their own peculiar brand of capitalist dis-intelligence.

        What you don't understand is that as more IQ and innovation are spread around, more people benefit. And with real innovation, they benefit in spectacular, life-changing ways.

        Collective intelligence is orthogonal to idiot quarterly profit.

        A company like Microsoft creates a massive brake on true innovation - by enforcing de facto standards made of yesterday's technology, by legally challenging genuine innovation, by saturating sales markets with juvenile marketing that lowers expectations of computing, and by squatting like a giant all-consuming stomach in the middle of the tech market, eating start-ups that could turn into something useful before they've had a chance to develop.

        Because of monopoly capitalism, technology, media and the arts are about two decades behind where they could be.

        If you think idiot profit makes up for this in any way at all, you *really* don't understand reality a tenth as well as you think you do.

      3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        FAIL

        "Business is business - if it makes you money it's good, if it loses you money it's bad."

        Ahhhhh, the greed is good argument, if it's making money it must be good, tell that to the tens of thousands of people who have lost their jobs and their futures (not the financial ones) at RBS, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan, Barclays, HSBC, and the thousands of other companies due to the greed of a wunch (collective noun) of bankers.

        FAIL, yours and theirs

        1. nyelvmark
          Boffin

          Greed is good? Yes, I think so.

          Perhaps I'm missing something, but are you saying that "RBS, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan, Barclays, HSBC, and the thousands of other companies" are shedding staff because they're making money?

          Aside from that, yes - my position on "corporate ethics" is that there's no such thing. A company does not have a conscience. It simply has an overriding directive - make as much money as you can. You are not going to rise to the top in any company, except by finding ways of making more money.

          It is the responsibility of democratic governments to make and enforce laws preventing companies from engaging in behaviour that is detrimental to the general public good.

          If a company is doing something which increases its profits, but is not illegal (or can be argued about in court for long enough that the company profits despite losing the case), then it is doing exactly what its shareholders want. If you don't like it, then you should campaign for changes in the law.

          Of course, companies that depend upon public confidence, trust or goodwill are vulnerable to losses (both reduced sales and reduced share price) if they get bad publicity, which is why they invest large amounts into public relations and marketing. This doesn't mean that they want to do whatever is in the public interest, only that they want to present themselves in this way.

          The above philosophy isn't prevalent in all companies, but if you're thinking of investing, I think it's a better bet to invest in one where it is.

          Thanks for all the socialist downvotes. I foresee The Register saying "Vote Labour" at the next election, in order to maximize its readership and, therefore, advertising revenue.

          If we're talking social responsibilty, I'd like to see some of these "OMG, Google, Microsoft and Apple are evilly hiring evil lawyers to find evil loopholes in the law" people to turn their attention to the activities of multinationals in the third world.

          The law of business I propounded above applies in the third world as well as here, but with the added advantage to massive corporations that, with enough money, they can effectively rewrite the laws to suit themselves, making anything that they do legal.

          Santa Claus is good. The Great Goblin is evil. Companies are either profitable or not.

          1. SoftFox
            WTF?

            Re: Greed is good? Yes, I think so.

            Perhaps I'm missing something, but are you saying that "RBS, Bear Stearns, JP Morgan, Barclays, HSBC, and the thousands of other companies" are shedding staff because they're making money?

            -

            Well the last couple of years seem to have gone right over your head.

            They did indeed try and make money, unfortunately too much and it blew up in their face. We have unfortunately got the crap end and paying for it. (and ironically paying them off as well).That why they they are shedding jobs as you say. Entirely self created scenario.

            As for MS, Apple etc. this sue you/me and the dog is a relatively new phenomenon in software patents and just a self perpetuating merry-go-round...they should be heavily restricted or at least have reduced validity period

    2. Anonymous Coward 101
      Meh

      "One day, their day of reckoning will come"

      But the reality is, the people cable of giving Microsoft their day of reckoning would be a considerable degree worse than Microsoft. Considerably more calculating and more evil.

      It would be like somebody hating the coalition and so cheering on Nazis as they whip David Cameron and Nick Clegg through the streets - satisfying to watch, until the implications are realised.

  3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    235 secret patents

    If Microsoft ever said which patents they were talking about, a pile of prior art would be found for each within a month.

  4. sisk Silver badge

    If Mircosoft would just disclose which 235 patents are being violated the kernel guys would work around them (or in some cases, I'm sure, laugh the claims off...a patent for deleting a file anyone?). But I suppose it's more profitable for them to be the schoolyard bully ("Whatever's in your pocket is mine! Hand it over or I'll pound you!")

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Trollface

      They're not bullies, they are just using plain extortion. "Nice product you've got there, would be a shame if something happened to it..."

    2. Justin Clements
      FAIL

      of course...

      Because non of these companies have lawyers and have ever thought of looking for prior art.

      1. David Hicks

        But Justin...

        ... (puts on best attempt at Agent Smith voice) how can you look for prior art, if we don't tell you what the patents are?

      2. John G Imrie

        Because non of these companies have lawyers and have ever thought of looking for prior art.

        Actually because the bean counters did a profit and loss and decided that paying the Microsoft Gelt eas the cheaper option.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Working around patents isn't easy

      I'm the author of some of the kernel that MS claims infringes on one of their patents. In this case the patent is bollocks and should never have been granted. Further, the code does not even infringe although MS's expert witnesses claim it does,

      Unfortunately patents, even bad ones, stand until they are overturned by a court of law. That means you cannot just "laugh them off".

      Many companies will just pay MS their protection money rather than risk having their products blocked from the market.

      MS is making huge money out of this. Enough to run a group of people to hunt for potential infringements and pay vast legal teams - including expert witnesses earning more than $400/hour.

      1. Turtle

        So, uh, you don't mind working on software that will be used for their own profit by IBM, who some people consider a far worse patent troll and extortionist than Microsoft?

    4. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      WTF?

      Careful there.....

      one of the "great innovations" that mickeysoft have patented is using the page up and page down buttons, and get this...., I mean this is truly brilliant...., genuine innovation..., I can't understand how nobody never thought of this before..., to scroll a display up and down 1 display page.

      Truly, a ground breaking new development.

      http://www.zdnet.com/news/microsoft-patents-page-up-and-page-down/218626

      1. David Perry 2
        Coffee/keyboard

        @ Careful there...

        Maybe that's why no mac keyboard I've seen explicitly says page up / down. Or any software done it for that matter

        Keyboard cos it's a keyboard thing...

  5. LawLessLessLaw
    Boffin

    > While Linux is supposed to be open source, Microsoft has claimed since 2007 that more than 235 of its patents are violated by the project.

    Care to explain what "supposed to be" to is trying to say here ?

    And what on earth does that have to do with the claim by Microsoft ?

    v. sloppy Brid-Aine

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple

    And people criticise Apple for what they do with patents...

    They're all as bad as each other.

  7. Ano Nymous
    Thumb Down

    Note who they WON'T sue

    They don't go after anyone that they think will challenge them: not Red Hat, not IBM, not Google, etc... all with far more widespread use of Linux. And more $$ if Microsoft wins.

    But they know that when someone takes them to court rather than knuckling under, then they'll have to disclose their patents, and that's the first step to either invalidating them or working around them. Then they lose their FUD which is far more valuable to them than the patents.

    1. CmdrX3

      Maybe the companies that are settling just don't believe they would win in court. Casio is a multi-billion dollar company, as is HTC, Acer and quite a few other companies that have settled, in fact most are richer by a long way than Red Hat. These companies can quite easily afford a long court battle.

      1. Mark 65

        @CmdrX3

        I think that in this case it is the distinction that would be made between a software company i.e. someone using a RedHat/Oracle/IBM distro and an appliance manufacturer (HTC, Casio etc) whereby you could probably claim some alteration has been made to the standard kernel or base image etc for device compatibility and therefore that customisation makes it not a Linux problem per se but a manufacturer problem. If I'm running a software company I just turn around and say "fuck off and sue IBM, it's their OS". Not sure why Amazon would have signed, maybe that's kindle related (an appliance yet again).

    2. amehaye
      Linux

      They actually tried to bully Redhat

      Red hat's response? 'sue me'.

      As we all know, this is when the bully got cold feet.

    3. Syren Baran
      Holmes

      How could they?

      "They don't go after anyone that they think will challenge them: not Red Hat, not IBM, not Google, etc..."

      You think people use FAT32 on servers?

      1. Mike Pellatt
        FAIL

        You think the FAT32 patent is valid ?? (Yes, I know part of it was upheld. It's still bollox and full of prior art)

      2. bean520
        Linux

        Syren, whether FAT32 is used on the servers is neither here or there. The fact is the infringing code is still in their version of the kernel.

        Linux-Because im using it as we speak

        1. Syren Baran
          Linux

          @bean520

          "Syren, whether FAT32 is used on the servers is neither here or there. The fact is the infringing code is still in their version of the kernel."

          Last i checked it's not in the Red-Hat kernel (and i seriously doubt it's compiled into IBM's versions). And those FAT32-patents seem to be pretty much the only thing MS has against Linux (bullocks those patents may be, but they havent been invalidated yet).

          "Linux-Because im using it as we speak"

          That crappy OS (or kernel, depending on definition)?

          Gees, only runs on rubbish. Like my computer. Or my servers. DSL-router. Hmm, and the TV. And the tablet as well (no, NOT Android)..

    4. Alan Firminger

      The word patent means open for anyone to know. A secret patent is a contradiction in terms. It isn't just linguistics. Patents are open for anyone to know so that when the period of exclusivity expires everybody has access to the invention.

      What is meant is that MS have thousands of patents and they are not saying which ones are being infringed.

      1. CyberCod
        FAIL

        The problem here is that the damn things just don't expire fast enough.

        If I were in charge (and I'm never going to be) I'd have a five year limit on patents, and they'd be non-transferable.

        Enough to give an edge, but not enough to create a dynasty.

        This shit is broken.

    5. bean520
      Boffin

      Explanation

      "supposed to be" means that in theory you should be able to use the code without paying out royalties etc, as penned in the GPLv2 (the kernel's governing license). If MS has their way, this won't be the case, as we would have to buy 'licenses' off MS

    6. Robert Halloran
      Linux

      MS v. Barnes & Noble

      When B&N told the Monopolist they'd see them in court over patents supposedly violated by their Nook Color e-reader (an Android tablet underneath it all), *AND* called out the triviality of some of them in the response, MS promptly moved the dispute to the Court of International Trade, likely so they wouldn't have to expose them for the trash they likely are...

  8. croaker
    Trollface

    Don't ship to the US!!

    I've said it before and I'll say it again.

    Until the US citizens rise up and force a law change on Patents, do not R&D in, or ship your products to, the USA. They'll soon get the message when they can't buy the watch they want without a plane flight to Europe!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      umm, if I fly into germany, I can't buy a samsung galaxy tab simply because its flat, thin with approximately the same dimensions as ipad. But I agree about our SW patent situation in general.

      1. Eponymous Cowherd

        Not the same

        The claim by Apple against Samsung has nothing to do with Patents, it is concerned with design rights, claiming that the look/feel of the Samsung device is a "slavish copy" of the Apple device.

        Software Patents are, generally, not upheld anywhere but the US

      2. Demosthenese

        Actually you can buy the galaxy tab in germany. Only Samsung's german subsidiary is barred from selling it, while other retailers are able to continue selling and restocking the galaxy tab from other wholesalers or Samsung subsidiaries.

    2. Curtis
      Stop

      US Patent

      At the same time, why don't you stop using the results of US companies intellectual property. The patent war is something that will never be resolved (except by freetards who just take what they want). Pfizer spends $US4 billion to develop a drug, but the EU and UK refuse to recognize patents on drugs and reap the benefits of copycats.

      One thing that patentards forget is that the licensing fee of a patent is also about the research and the wrong turns that were made to get to the final product. simply copying the end result of someone else's hard work is theft. But good luck getting anyone in the UK or EU to see it that way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Really???

        Considering how much money my govt. pumps into research for these corporations (tax breaks, direct/indirect grants, university co-funding, relaxed enforcement of environmental/labor laws) and how much they make by gouging their 'clientele' in areas where they can patent, I don't feel particularly sorry these companies. They have more rights than we do for some reason. All the benefits of a person but no repurcussions like a person if they break the law. Medicine (as well as healthcare, most food, most clothing and most housing) should be a non-profit venture because it impacts human basic human needs. I could care less if someone is gouging people that want to buy the latest gadget for fun. I could care less if candy, soda pop, cigarettes and such are overpriced either. While I'm not talking about price collusion or monopoly, I don't think that making a killing on a product is a bad thing.

        It just needs to be on the 'excesses' and not the necessities.

        How much of that $4 Billion you're quoting went into pure research and how much went into the advertising/legal/marketting departments?

        1. Nick Pettefar

          I am pretty sure you meant to say "you couldn't care less". Saying "you could care less" means the opposite of what you want to say I believe.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On a totally unrelated note

    I can hardly wait for the day when FSF will start sending their lawyers to all these (suckers) companies that have signed patent agreements with MS. A simple licensing compliance audit will establish the naked true. If the patents are really valid, those companies have clearly violated GPL and they deserve to pay for it. If not, then they are really suckers and they deserve to pay Microsoft for it. Oh, and we'll get to know what those patents are about.

    1. The First Dave Silver badge
      WTF?

      How the hell are the FSF (who have no real connection with Linux anyway) going to get any company to let them do a "simple licensing compliance audit" ? Is there some clause to that effect in the GPL that I have missed?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No, it's not in GPL and yes, you missed it.

        It is called FSF GPL Compliance Labs and it is responsible for enforcing GPL licensing terms. Oh, and they have lawyers too. In short, if you're distributing GPL software, FSF has the right to ask you about compliance.

  10. DutchP

    Wiseguys

    "nice store you got there. What a shame if it'd burn down"

    Now where's that A-team when you need them?

    1. Cunningly Linguistic
      Gimp

      Gearing up for the forthcoming iphone 5 frenzy and employing extra "geniuses"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Gearing up for the forthcoming iphone 5 frenzy and employing extra "geniuses"?

        yes, I have dozens of them in the basement.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Unhappy

    TomTom was different

    They were explicitly using the FAT filesystem patent on their devices, and that's what MSFT sued them over.

    The reason they don't use EXT2 or something like that, is they do updates by mounting the device as USB mass storage and copying files to it, so it needs to be a filesystem that Windows can handle.

    Classic Catch-22.

    1. Mark 65

      Could they not have used UDF?

      1. bean520
        Thumb Down

        Windows won't read UDF or any other filesystem MS did not create

        1. Mark 65

          @bean520

          I hope you were being sarcastic as all versions of Windows after 3.11 are fine with v1.02 of UDF, Windows 2000 onwards are fine with v1.50 (virtual re-write), and XP onwards support v2.0

          UDF is the disk format of CD-R/DVD-R/DVD+R... in case you weren't being sarcastic.

          I suggested it because it requires no drivers so would work (in theory) for plug-n-play devices whereas EXT2 could be used if you wanted users to use a "driver disk"

    2. CyberCod

      this is only because they were too lazy to create an installable filesystem.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is a patent deal really a patent deal?

    MS: We want you to pay us $n per unit for using linux.

    x CO: Wha? Are you stupid?

    MS: Relax, we'll give you back $n + $1.00. Just sign an NDA, and let us make the announcement, the FUD value is priceless.

    x CO: OK, whatever.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Devil

      It's even easier than that. They pay X amount of dollars and they get X amount of dollars in extra rebates for licenses.

      There's nothing as good as virtual revenue, beancounters just love it!

  13. jake Silver badge

    Fuck Microsoft.

    Me & mine have been Microsoft free since late 2009. Hasn't affected our computing/networking/Internet experience at all, near as I can tell[1]. And in fact, it's made my life much easier, for the simple reason that I no longer get called on to "fix my Windows[tm][r][c], please" on a near daily basis.

    Just say "no" to multi-billion $currency global marketing companies.

    [1] Exception is the gamers in the family ... and they don't call me, because I charge my standard commercial rates for fixing toys.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie
      Linux

      "Hasn't affected our computing/networking/Internet experience at all"

      It's certainly affected mine. It's more stable, faster, more secure and a delight to use.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @Big-nosed Pengie

        Please note that I didn't comment on my choice of OS.

        Think about it.

    2. It wasnt me
      Meh

      Gee, you sound fun

      You won't even help your own family without charging them - nice. And I seem to remember that your 'commercial' rates are based on pulling off horses????

      http://forums.theregister.co.uk/user/4800/7

      I still can't work out why you hang around on an IT website.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @It wasnt me

        I help my family out all the time. I just refuse to fix b0rken-by-design Microsoft-based toys for free. My time is valuable, and I don't consider gaming useful.

        My commercial computer rates are considerably lower than what I get from "pulling off[1]" horses, hour-for-hour ... but horse-porn only lasts a couple minutes; computer porn can go on for weeks, and pays the bills.

        [1] It always amuses me when city folks try to discuss livestock breeding :-)

      2. Dana W
        FAIL

        Can you blame him?

        I stopped fixing Windows for friends and family because they just break it again in a week with Frostwire or the latest "You have a Virus INSTALL THIS NOW OR DIE!" scareware.

        And every time it breaks its YOUR fault from that day on. Once you touch that PC, Stockholm Syndrome Kicks in and forever after any problems they have with that machine magically become your fault, Not Microsoft for writing junk, not them or their kids for doing the same foolish things over and over again, but specifically you because "You touched it last!"

        He said he helps his friends and family. So do I. I help them Choose a Mac, or I help them install Linux. Helping them to keep limping along on Windows when all it does is fail for them is NOT helping them, its enabling them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Protection?

    How will this deal help "protect" Casio devices running linux? Protect from who or what?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Protection from Microsoft of course.

      Its the old protection racket innit?

      "Them windows look really vulnerable. Sub us some money and we'll see to it that they don't get all smashed up, like."

  15. Richard 33
    Linux

    Oh wikileaks, where art thou now

    Someone really needs to leak the terms of one of these contracts.

  16. tekHedd
    Unhappy

    Patents

    Most of the comments here may or may not be free speech. I have a portfolio of patents on alphabetic usages and patterns, including one covering "a consonant that can either represent a soft or hard sound". At least one prominent commenter has agreed to pay licensing fees. Go ahead, keep commenting all you want, but realize that you're stealing from me when you do it, and I have not yet ruled out the possibility of future legal action.

    Is this really that much sillier than software patents?

    1. P Saunders

      I notice you are using MY patent

      For a letter that can be used either as a vowel or a consonant.

    2. Tomato42 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Yes, software patents are just applications of lambda calculus -- that's maths for you if you did social "sciences" -- which is unpatentable by law.

      If I worked at patent office I would need only two stamps: "lambda calculus" and "bloody obvious". I just wonder which one would need be replaced more often...

  17. Mark 110

    Which patents for what?

    Could the venerable ElReg possibly enlighten us as to what these Microsoft p[atents are that Linux is infringing upon. I'm no fanboy but whenever its Apple being silly we get the gory details yet when its Microsoft we get nada.

    So what is it? Are these real and genuine inventions that have been copied?

    1. JohnG

      You haven't been paying attention! Microsoft says there are 235 patents being breached but won't say which patents are involved. As others have commented, were Microsoft to reveal which 235 patents they are talking about, it is quite likely that the world + dog would find prior art or other reasons why Microsoft's claims are invalid.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    And to think ...

    Some people still think using Mono on Linux is harmless and a bit fun. I certainly used to.

    sudo apt-get remove --purge mono-common libmono0 mono libmono1.0-cil libmono2.0-cil

    Then get the mononono package to stop it ever coming back as a dependency.

  19. Matt Bucknall
    Devil

    I wonder...

    how many patents Microsoft thinks FreeBSD or NetBSD violate?

  20. Morten Bjoernsvik
    Stop

    Show me your stinking patents

    Do anyone have a list of the offending patents. I tried to google and did not find any?.

    When I install opensuse I only get one license for truetype, but where are the other 234?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      TrueType

      ... nothing to do with Microsoft -- although they were early adopters. It was invented by Apple (just as bad) but open -- TT rasterisers are very open and freely available these days.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Selvdestructive behaviour ?

    If MS tried to threaten me, I would kindly ask them for 10 mill USD a month for the next 50 years or I would make a full disclosure of the case and that would put Microsoft out of business in about 6 months.

  22. P. Lee
    Terminator

    It isn't about right or wrong

    It's how you play the game.

    There are two issues - cost of settling vs cost of lawyers and how much do you want your patent system devalued.

    Do you really thing Casio doesn't have a long list of dodgy patents? Is it in Casio's interest to have the patent system fixed?

    Cross-licensing is how we stop smaller companies from challenging the status quo. It's how we stop good ideas becoming good products without being sold to a major corporation. Do you think this is what Casio or Samsung or HTC want, any more than MS or Apple? Google is unique here because it doesn't (didn't) have a physical product, but even Google had to buy into the patent system to defend Motorola.

    I think it would be very hard to fix the patent award mechanism. However, given that a patent is a government sanctioned monopoly for something which is not secret, I see no reason why the government should not require notification and publication of when that monopoly power is transferred between organisations. I'd vote for a public register of all licensing deals involving government-provided monopoly rights, at least naming the rights involved.

    Patent threats are society-backed legal threats made by private organisations. I think society ought to be able to see what is being done with the rights they grant.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about this....

    Given microsoft are raping the shit out of all that is good, why don't you do this. Every time you see a microsoft advert on google, the register, whatever, click through and then leave. If enough people do it thats one hell of a bill, and while only a pisspot full of money to ms, it redistribues some of its wealth to sites that deserve the money and it makes it virtually impossible to monitor how well your web advertising is doing, as most clicks are fruitless to them.

    Just an idea...........if enough people kick then surely this would be crowd sourcing at its best....

    1. jake Silver badge

      @AC 01:22

      No! Do NOT do this! ... You don't understand the marketard mind-set. They will view the clicks as "interest in the product", and increase the advertising.

      Instead, learn how to block MS, google, etc, so you don't see the advertising in the first place. Much more productive long-term.

      1. mark l 2 Silver badge

        Whether i see the MS adverts or not i have never directly bought a product from MS anyway.

        Don't own an Xbox, and My laptops all came with Windows pre-installed by the manufacturer. And prior to that i used a friends copy of Windows 98 on my self built pc. And was a Amiga user before that, which FYI was a much more friendly system for adding new file systems than windows. You could drop a couple of driver files into the system folder and the entire OS and programs could read the new file system.

    2. Turtle

      "Given microsoft are raping the shit out of all that is good,..."

      When was the last time your mom let you out of the basement? She needs to take you out for an airing way more often - even if you don't want to go, because you have constructed a fantasy world which is a veritable paradise except for the presence of Microsoft. Meanwhile, back in the actually-existing world, on the list of all things that are evil, we find Microsoft far, far down the list.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Trollface

        You keep yousing the word- "we"...

        It echoes under your lonely bridge...

        clip-clop.

      2. mrweekender
        FAIL

        Oh well that's ok then..

        ..there are far more evil people in the world so all those others who are a little bit less evil, you can go about your usual evil business, until you become evil enough, according to Turtles scale of evil, that makes it ok to actually do something about you. Yeah good logic there - NOT!

        Stop one stop them all.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some rational thinking please

    You invent something.

    You patent it, because after all, you don't want to throw away your valuable time and you have bills to pay.

    Then someone else comes along with the same idea.

    Do you sue them, or do you offer them a licencing deal?

    Nobody here knows the terms of the deal between Microsoft and Casio, but most commentators seem to have made up their mind that Casio got screwed.

    Why is that ? In my opinion, it's because big bad Microsoft that was on the other side of the deal and it gives an opportunity to vent a whole load of hot air. But wait, reflect that back to my example above. If you choose to deal with the other party, did they get screwed or was it just good business for everyone?

    1. rurwin
      Alert

      Stop drinking the cool-aid

      Take a step back there. Company A invent something and patent it. Company B invent something. Does Company A really have any moral right to prevent company B profiting from their own hard work?

      Maybe you can say company B copied it rather than invented it, but that is fairly unlikely. The stuff that would cause problems for Linux is the stuff you can't see. The stuff you can see can be worked around in a heat-beat.

      Maybe if the patents could be slimmed down to those which were actually novel and non-obvious then the system could be made to work, but as it stands it is a liability for the majority of businesses in the USA.

      This is a simple business decision for Casio. Do you pay now or do you pay over ten million dollars to fight a legal suit that you should theoretically win but which will give your competitors FUD opportunities for the next 3-5 years? It's a no-brainer, as was the question of whether you should pay the mob.

      Legalised extortion, pure and simple.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No cool-aid here, no rose tinted Tux-glasses either

        To carry you hypothetical postulation further:

        >> Company A invent something and patent it. Company B invent something. Does Company A really have any moral right to prevent company B profiting from their own hard work?

        If Company B *invented* it, no, Company A would have no moral or legal right to stop it.

        However, by your definition, Company A *invented* it, not Company B. Nothing can be invented twice.

        Company B might have *thought* they invented something and may well indeed have put a lot of time and effort into the design, but if it was patented by someone else first, they cannot claim to have invented it and are potentially infinging that patent. The best option would be to seek a licence to use the invention on favourable terms.

        1. John G Imrie

          Nothing can be invented twice.

          Really who is the inventor of the TV.

          http://www.physlink.com/education/askexperts/ae408.cfm

        2. rurwin
          WTF?

          Things can too be invented twice.

          Microsoft invent a new algorithm, implement it deep inside Windows 8.5 and patent it.

          Some Linux guy looks for a new algorithm and happens to come up with something close enough to infringe the patent.

          Microsoft did not publish the algorithm beyond their patent and it was not visible in the product they produced. Nobody reads patents for fear of triple damages, even if they could afford the time to read them all. (It's approximately a single full-time job.) So nobody but Microsoft and the patent office knew Microsoft had invented anything; the Linux guy worked from scratch, just the same as Microsoft did. He did exactly the same work.

          You say Microsoft invented it and the Linux guy didn't. I say that is a mighty strange definition of the term "invent" which it is not productive for us to adopt.

  25. BenDwire
    Big Brother

    IANAL

    If there is any blame to be apportioned, then it has to go to "The System". The way the patent system works is broken as far as most non-lawyers are concerned. However, the law system is also broken as it assumes a ruling as upheld if enough lawsuits are successfully won. I predict that MS will be able to go after Google / Red Hat etc. once enough little lawsuits have been won. They are simply doing the groundwork, that's all.

    If you were in MS's position you'd do the same things to protect your business. That's just how "The System" works.

    The same argument can be made against Apple and Oracle. It is the way it is.

    Disclaimer: I dislike MS, their products and their business practices. But I use Windows because it gets the job done at an acceptable price. I use Linux where possible. I don't succumb to Apple marketing because I prefer Android. My money, my choice. If you prefer something different and are willing to pay for it yourself then go right ahead - I won't mind. We, the little people, should be allowed choice. That's all.

  26. yossarianuk
    Linux

    Every tax payer is funding this assault

    Due to the monopoly that Microsoft has every time you pay your taxes some of that money goes to Microsoft, some of that money is possibly going towards the legal costs of attacking Linux.

    That monopoly means that police, schools, hospitals, libraries use Windows (even though there is no need to - why the hell do police need to use Windows pc's... Are they playing DirectX games ?)

    Microsoft are a huge example of why monopolies are a bad idea. Microsoft existence is preventing the advancement of computing as a science... they are hindering mankind advancing as a race (unless you count WGA + clippy)

  27. Tom 7 Silver badge

    And if your machine runs Win8 it wont run Linux

    it seems that to run W8 your machine will only be able to boot CA signed OS's .

    It must be so shit they don’t want it shown up by a recovery disk....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Really?

      Please post a reference to this, and explain how an OS level lock on a bootloader would prevent an OS loading from a seperate drive if called first, say from a USB stick or DVD.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This tells us more about the US courts than MS...

    Now, not living in the US I maybe basing this on false assumptions (if so I'd appreciate feedback!) but I think everyone is barking up the wrong tree here. Its not the evil MS but the evil justice system which makes all this idiocy possible.

    People always forget that companies seek money. But its the US which makes that (IMVHO:) retarded patent system possible so its only logical that companies use it to try and generate an income from it. Maybe not morally ethical, but for companies only the financial aspect is important.

    Now the only thing people are upset is because in this case it involves Linux. When it comes to other (far more) unfair patent deals it may not even get any of your attention apart from those who also follow the financial sections of the newspaper.

    Still; if you want to blame someone then put the blame where it belongs: the US patent system.

    Only that way you might actually be able to change something here.

  29. bobdobbs
    Paris Hilton

    real news...

    This is just expected behaviour from microsoft; the real news here (for me) is that casio is using linux enough for microsoft to bother. What products are they using it in? Can i have linux in my watch now, please?

    paris, cause she would buy a linux watch if she could.

  30. BasevaInc
    WTF?

    Guess Casio Can Counter Sue Microsoft

    Guess Casio Can Counter Sue Microsoft for using a digital clock & calculator without permission!!!

  31. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  32. Inachu
    Pint

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

    Even Groklaw showed what liars they(MICROSOFT) really are.

    Microsoft really could not point to any 230 patent as it was the Microsoft lawyers

    who just waved their hand like a Jedi to the judge to say their case is valid.

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