Microsoft’s Patenting Trend

Several years ago, Microsoft announced its new policy of obtaining patents. As the numbers below — the software company is being successful in this push.

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(Data here: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/all_tech.htm). The company’s most recent design patent is directed to an icon of a handheld device .

 

22 thoughts on “Microsoft’s Patenting Trend

  1. I think this is also about product differentiation with Open Source Software, much of which is funded by MS competitors. As for the real “free software”, you can’t raise a family as an OSS developer but there could be 5,000+ graduating from unis every year, each of which is good for say 5 person-years of voluntary coding. Thus after the hype has passed, at a guess, OSS should have a standing developer army of 25,000. That is Microsoft’s biggest threat in my opinion and patents draw a line in the sand to allow their ideas to be commercially funded. The question of software patents therefore is essentially this: Should a person be allowed to make money out of his or her ideas, and if so, how much? In Australia where I come from, there are laws for compulsory licensing, so if you don’t practice the patent you might have to allow others to do so for a fair price.

  2. I am glad that MS is divulging their technology in all these patent applications. It means much more revenue for the USPTO to hire more examiners and I’d rather have the knowledge made public than kept as a trade secret.

    There is an incredible amount of knowledge hidden in software that is kept as tradesecrets in little magical black boxes.

    Isn’t that how the system works? Publicise what you know and we’ll protect it for awhile. Go ahead, argue only incremental value . . . but incremental is how we learn. Paradigm changes are few and far between, generally we stand on the shoulders of those before us. We can only stand on those shoulders when we learn from them.

  3. It comes down to this… if you can’t beat them, join them. Microsoft has been buying up technology patents for years through subsidiaries, holding companies, etc. Enolas made a significant impression. Don’t fault MS though.. they are doing what is prudent in the global economy.

  4. FYI … Based upon those numbers, my guess is that MS’s strategy probably changed sometime in 2002/2003.

  5. “Does that mean MS will drop out of the Coalition for Patent Fairness?”

    Jaoi, they announced this policy before there even was a Coalition so far as I know. They’re probably trying to demonstrate how they can hold up progress with mucho patento to help their pleas to congress. I wouldn’t doubt if 50%+ are “software” patents.

  6. I think your focus on tr***s is short-sighted.

    link to uk.reuters.com

    Microsoft, and the CPF, are worried about all patent holders. But they most fear a “real” company (which can wield the threat of injunction) which has a solid patent reading on a valuable invention. Those suits cost signficant fractions of a billion dollars.

  7. Dear Lionel,

    My guess is that any paper patent tr*** smart enough to nail Mr. Gates may Just be smart enough to build another competitive business empire.

    Let’s raise a toast for all American paper patent entr**reneur*.

  8. MS simply got tired of not having defensive weaponry in their arsenal. Although, MS’s portfolio will not be that valuable against the paper patent tr***s, and that is where their suits are likely to come from.

  9. Dear BHR,

    No, not I — I for one don’t believe anything about MS is good for the the USA.

  10. Does antyone believe that Microsoft is ten times as innovative as it was ten years ago? Does anyone believe that Microsoft’s new patent policy is a good thing for the USA?

  11. No spam, please… AND PLEASE NO SPAM IN ALL CAPS LOCK. I would be interested in your patent, except I spend my extra money on an escrow fund for some guy from Namibia.

  12. I AM–BLESS THE CHILDREN, INC. I HAVE AN INVENTION/PRODUCT–CHILD’S 5-PIECE TV AND PLAY TRAY SET—FOR GIRLS AND BOYS AGES 2 TO 10. KIDS LOVE IT! I OWN ALL THE PATENT RIGHTS, WHICH INCLUDE THE–U.S. DESIGN PATENT, COPYRIGHT, PRODUCT SAMPLE, NEW VACUUM-FORM MOLD, TOOL AND DIE CUTTER, AND ALL ARTWORK. I AM WANTING TO SELL THESE RIGHTS ASAP AT A DISCOUNT PRICE. WOULD ANYONE OUT THERE LIKE TO BUY? PRODUCT CAN BE NON-CHRISTIAN AND/OR CHRISTIAN. PRODUCT IS EXTREMELY–MARKETABLE, BEAUTIFUL, UNIQUE, USEFUL, COLORFUL, ENCHANTING, EYE-CATCHING, ONE OF A KIND, CUTE, FUN, EXCITING, HANDY, STURDY, EASY TO CLEAN, EASY TO MANUFACTURE, CHILD-PROOF, GREAT MONEY-MAKER, ADORABLE AND LOVABLE! PRODUCT IS USED FOR–EATING, ARTS AND CRAFTS, TOYS, GAMES, HOMEWORK, END TABLES, PARTIES, ETC. ONE PART CAN BE USED FOR A–WALL PICTURE, PLACEMAT, SERVING TRAY, PLAY TRAY(ON FLOOR, BED, COUCH, TRAVELING, CAMPING, ETC.). JUST TAKE ALL THE PATENT RIGHTS TO A MANUFACTURING COMPANY(I KNOW A GUY IN TEXAS WHO OWNS A MANUFACTURING COMPANY IN CHINA, WHO CAN AND WILL MAKE THIS PRODUCT, BUT HE DOES NOT SELL PRODUCTS), HAVE THE PRODUCT MADE AND THEN SELL IT, AND MAKE A FINE FORTUNE!! IT CAN BE SOLD TO ALL THE BIG CHAIN STORES AND DEPARTMENT STORES PLUS MANY OTHER PLACES. IT IS AN EASY SELL AND HAS A HIGH PROFIT MARGIN. IF YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN BUYING THE RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT ME ASAP, TODAY? 8054862103–24HRS. billwoolard45@hotmail.com I LIVE IN OXNARD, CALIFORNIA. YOU CAN MAKE $50 MILLION TO $500 MILLION, OR MORE, PER YEAR. THANK YOU, IRIS.

  13. It looks like it took Bill a while to adopt IBM’s historic patent policy and patent protection agenda, but better a decade or so late than never.

    Does that mean MS will drop out of the Coalition for Patent Fairness?

  14. Looks like MS has also doubled the number of agents/attorneys working in-house since Dennis’ 2004 post (up to 62 from 31).

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