Microsoft-Samsung pact includes Linux patent 'protection'Well, there they go again. With the prolifieration of all these Linux "protection" cross licenses, one can't help asking a few questions. Such as whether Microsoft will ever reveal its mysterious patents, so that Linux users and distro vendors can decide whether or not they agree with Microsoft's contentions? And whether, if all of the terms of each deal were known, would it really appear that Microsoft's partners really thought there was much substance to those patent claims at all? And finally, where will it all end?
Provision raises specter of controversial claim by Steve Ballmer
April 18, 2007 (Computerworld) --Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday signed a broad cross-licensing agreement with close partner Samsung Electronics Co. that includes a controversial provision granting the Korean electronics conglomerate rights to patents that Microsoft claims have been illegally borrowed by the Linux operating system. Samsung is the third company to ink a similar cross-licensing pact, which critics said de facto advances Microsoft’s unproven claims to Linux-related intellectual property…[full story]
I don't know the answers to the first two questions, but I thought I'd take a crack at the last one. Here you go:
Microsoft-Kellogg's pact includes Froot Loops trademark 'protection'
Provision will protect breakfast cereal vendor and its customers form IPR liability
April 20, 2007 (BreakfastBowlToday) – Microsoft today announced that it had entered into a trademark cross license agreement with leading cereal vendor Kellogg's, granting the grocery giant the right to continue to use the name "Froot Loops" to describe its popular children's cereal. "Everybody knows computer software uses loops, and any one who has ever had their Windows-based computer freeze up knows it has infinite loops," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer stated that the Redmond giant had no choice but to threaten litigation in order to "get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation."
Trademark experts were taken by surprise that Kellogg's felt realistically threatened. Boston-based attorney Susan Mulholland, a partner at technology boutique Gesmer Updegrove, observed, "It's absurd for a software vendor to claim that there could be any confusion between a software bug and a colorful breakfast cereal." Not so, according to a Microsoft legal spokesman: "Microsoft has always cared about the total user experience. Developers enjoy breakfast cereal at their computers all the time, and many programmers I know are very easily confused."
In related news, trading was heavy today in shares of home construction products manufacturer Anderson Windows [AWIN] on rumors of an imminent $440 million cash infusion from sofware giant Microsoft Corporation [MSFT].
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