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Microsoft Community Promise, and the OSP

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Microsoft has issued various "promises" and "commitments" regarding the non-enforcement of their software patents for certain types of implementations of their languages and file formats such as .NET, C#, Mono, OOXML, Moonlight, and things they've worked on with Novell.

Opinions differ on the level of safety provided by these promises.

Contents

[edit] Covered technologies

[edit] What if Microsoft sells the patents to a troll?

One worry about Microsoft's promises is that they don't protect software developers in the case where Microsoft sells those patents to a patent troll. (Microsoft has tried such sales before.[1])

If Microsoft wanted it to be valid even after a sale, they could have re-used the words they used in the Patent non-aggression pact they made with Sun Microsystems:

(Text from Sun pact, NOT from MS promises) If either Party assigns any patent that it owns or controls or any right to enforce such patent, the assigning Party shall require as a condition of any such assignment that the assignee covenant not to sue or otherwise seek recovery from (i) the other Party or its Authorized Licensees as set forth in Sections II.1 and (ii) the other Party as set forth in Sections II.2 with respect to such patent.[2]
See Equitable defences: estoppel and latches

[edit] The promises

[edit] Microsoft Open Specification Promise

http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp/default.mspx

[edit] Microsoft Community Promise

http://www.microsoft.com/interop/cp/default.mspx

Doesn't cover partial implemenations.

[edit] Related pages on en.swpat.org

[edit] External links

[edit] OOXML

[edit] References

  1. http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/blogs/browse/2009/09/protecting-linux-microsoft-yes-microsoft-got-caught
  2. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/709519/000119312504155723/dex10109.htm


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