Thursday, April 30, 2009

Apparent Schizophrenia Redux

In a post titled Microsoft sends mixed patent message , Dana Blankenhorn talks about the mixed signals Microsoft sends on its patent policy.

Perhaps Blankenhorn should read up on IBM's apparent patent schizophrenia.

See for example:

IBM patent policy: apparent schizophrenia?

IBM's "apparent schizophrenia" on patent policy revisited

Further query: do we need an "apparent schizophrenic" as USPTO director?

**Returning to Microsoft, IAM notes a bit of a dust-up in the Microsoft/TomTom settlement:

Speaking in a session based on the EPO's Scenarios for the Future project, [Keith] Bergelt [of OIN] explained that under Dutch law, a company only has to reveal how much it has paid to settle a dispute if the amount exceeds a certain percentage of its market capitalisation. According to Bergelt, in TomTom's case the sum would have had to have been over $500,000. As TomTom has not made any figures public, Bergelt claimed, the settlement amount must have fallen below the threshold.

In response, Horacio Gutierrez of Microsoft:

“The terms of the contract are confidential and therefore we cannot comment on the amount of the settlement payment. However, Mr Bergelt is wrong. Mr Bergelt’s speculation is based on an incorrect understanding of Dutch law and therefore cannot be relied upon as a basis for interpreting the amount of the settlement payment to Microsoft. If people would like to know the real financial terms of the agreement, Microsoft has no objection to that if TomTom wishes to waive the confidentiality of those terms.”

Separately, of the FAT patents invoked against TomTom, it was noted:

On Monday OIN announced it was inviting people to provide prior art that might lead to the invalidation of the three Microsoft patents. Since that time it has already received a "significant response"


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