[Mono-list] patents on ISO/ECMA C#

Michael Poole poole@troilus.org
17 Oct 2002 00:10:14 -0400

Tom <tom7ca@yahoo.com> writes:

> Could we please have some clarity whether or not standards-conforming
> C# implementations fall under some Microsoft patent?

Are you volunteering to underwrite a lawyer's legal opinion on this?

Companies make a lot of patent claims.  Some are justified.  Some are
not.  Sometimes the claims are justified by patents which could be
invalidated.  Only a court can definitively say which is the case --
and then only for one <patent,product> pair.  A lawyer can give an
opinion, but that would only be relevant to the extent that the lawyer
says there is infringement.  If the lawyer does not believe a product
infringes, the patent holder can still file suit.

Whether Microsoft has enforceable patent claims on Mono or not is
irrelevant to the mono mailing lists; the proper forum to decide that
is the courtroom (and informed by lawyers' opinions).  Even if they do
have enforceable patents on technology that Mono uses, they may do the
surprising thing and license them to the Mono project under terms
compatible with Mono's license.[1] The article does allude to this
possibility, before engaging scare tactics.

(NOTE: I am not a lawyer; the above is just my understanding of the
facts -- both of law and the software.  I could be wrong, but I think
the last paragraph of the article hits the nail on the head about what
Microsoft can and cannot do with patent claims on .NET technologies.)


[1]- IBM has done this for certain of their patents (for example,
  graph coloring register assignment as used in recent gcc).