Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Torvalds makes Microsoft patent collateral damage

In a post titled How Linus Torvalds Helped Bust a Microsoft Patent by Robert McMillan, one has text related to Linus Torvalds:

Last December, Microsoft scored a victory when the ITC Administrative Law Judge Theodore R. Essex found that Motorola had violated four Microsoft patents. But the ruling could also eliminate an important Microsoft software patent that has been invoked in lawsuits against Barnes & Noble and car navigation device-maker Tom Tom.

According to Linus Torvalds, he was deposed in the case this past fall, and apparently his testimony about a 20-year-old technical discussion — along with a discussion group posting made by an Amiga fan, known only as Natuerlich! — helped convince the Administrative Law Judge that the patent was invalid.

Essex’s ruling is merely an initial determination. It is being reviewed and could yet be reversed by the Commission. But if it’s upheld, it could work against Microsoft as it continues to fight Android and other Linux-based systems that it believes violate its intellectual property.

As illustrated for example by the ion trap case (Finnigan; ITC case reviewed by the CAFC) in testimony by Keith Jefferts, testimonial assertions about prior art must be corroborated.


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