Well, we seem to not have been the only ones to notice the problems with the arguments made by Microsoft legal. Larry Augustin, of VA Linux fame, wrote a response that is worth reading. In it he basically says “put them up (the allegedly infringed patents, and where the infringing code/design is), or shut up.” The critical “money” quote is
That is the point after all. Super-secret evidence. Reminds me of the Animal House movie. They are completely unwilling to discuss the the alleged infringements in public. Remember, one of the lawyers says this:
Oh really? As I pointed out yesterday, they do. To wit:
Sorry Mr. Gutierrez, the facts do not appear to be on your side here. IBM does in fact disclose specific patents. Since your argument for not divulging rests upon the assumption that IBM and others do not do this, and we have shown that IBM does in fact divulge the patents, your argument against divulging is rather weak. IBM does this, as should you.
Another blogger made additional comments. I don’t agree with some of the thesis around this. There are not millions of contributers to Linux. Microsoft’s lawyers are not the biggest/baddest around, they simply have the most money backing them. Which means they can lose and appeal until they exhaust their competitors funds. They have done this to national governments, they can do it to tiny corporations and people. Other minor nitpicking as well on my part. That said, this blogger makes an important point.
Lets say I disagree with 150. I would be hard pressed to imagine 1/10th of that. Given what I have seen in the patents coming out, a fair number of them are weak, and quite likely to be pushed over if challenged.
But, well, it gets better.
Look at some of the text in US patent law
From this site
Very specific notice. Patent numbers are very specific notice. Highly specific.
So there it is. Without specific patent numbers, without specific pointers to the alleged infringement we have nothing.
Nothing but FUD.
Marketing by legal threats.