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IBM Patents Your Rights Online

Open Source Complaint Against IBM Gets Support 250

Posted by kdawson
from the flashback-to-the-eighties dept.
FlorianMueller writes "ZDNet blogger Dana Blankenhorn reports that '[t]he efforts by open source TurboHercules to break IBM's mainframe monopoly through the European Commission got some proprietary support this week when NEON Enterprise Software LLC of Austin, Texas, filed an EU complaint alongside a US antitrust lawsuit.' NEON's founder co-founded BMC, so the company is well-funded for this fight. In comments given to the IDG News Service, IBM claims that NEON's product, which saves mainframe customers money by optimizing the use of coprocessors, 'offers no innovation,' and accuses the 'copycat' of violating IBM's intellectual property. That's basically what IBM also said about the Hercules emulator. The European Commission is expected to take a decision on an investigation in a matter of months. Since IBM lobbies the EC over the Open Document Format, it's now accused of double standards."
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Open Source Complaint Against IBM Gets Support

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  • by poetmatt (793785) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:14AM (#32691124) Journal

    HAHAHAHAHAHA Florian! The man represents himself. Color me surprised.

    This is not about patents, and you are 100% incorrect.

    I know you mean well, but everything you do causes problems for open source. Please go away. Do you have any idea how much you're negatively impacting open source? You are seriously a bane on free software.

    Secondly, citing your own blog is not fact. It's completely insubstantiated. Come back with something that actually makes sense and isn't spin, Florian.

    There is no abuse of rights. IBM has a copyright and if they choose to exert it they can. Are you going to tell me that if I copyright something I shouldn't be able to exert that copyright? What world do you live in?

    I love how you fail to read the groklaw article where it shows that this has nothing to do with IBM's patents. Hercules is asking IBM to license something to a non-GPL compatible license. Since when is that IBM's responsibility to allow, when it would modify their own license? I hate MS for example, but you wouldn't expect them to license something under GPLv3 when it would modify or restrict their own license, would you?

    this is about copyright, not IP rights, and not antitrust. Get your laws right. It's not anticompetitive, either. Anyone can still go out and make their own implementation, and guess what? Hercules has already done so.

  • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:15AM (#32691138) Homepage

    You're right that large corporations are complex organizations with a diversity of interests. It's not about morality in this case. It's about political credibility:

    IBM wants to convince policy-makers such as in the EU (and actually all around the globe) of the benefits of patent-unencumbered standards only in markets or market segments where IBM has nothing to lose. But in their own core business (the mainframe business generates about 50% of IBM's corporate-wide profits) they oppose it vehemently, I would even say ruthlessly because no one would expect them to give something away, but they should at least make a commercially reasonable offer. They demand royalty-free access, for the sake of interoperability, when other companies' patents are concerned and say "fair, resaonable and non-discriminatory" is insufficient. Then when there own core business is at stake, they don't even grant "FRAND" terms: they simply want to shut out competition and that's why there are now three antitrust complaints on the European Commission's table and antitrust litigation and complaints in the US as well. The discrepancy between "No way, José" for their own patents and "FRAND is not enough, we need royalty-free" for other companies' patents is so extreme that it's not just standard corporate behavior. It's worse than what most other large players in the industry do.

    As far as I'm concerned, the question of royalty-free or FRAND (or complete denial to grant a license) wouldn't even have to be on the agenda: do away with software patents and the problem is solved for the good. But we need solutions under the current legal framework.

  • WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twmcneil (942300) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:30PM (#32692076)
    Who the hell accepted a post from Florian Mueller? (Looks) Oh...

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