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

Tom tom7ca@yahoo.com
Wed, 16 Oct 2002 21:45:58 -0700 (PDT)

> Whether Microsoft has enforceable patent claims on Mono or not is
> irrelevant to the mono mailing lists;

I'm an incipient Mono user and potential open source library 
contributor.  The implementation is shaping up and the language 
is a modest improvement over Java.  I think it's a valid question
to ask whether anybody knows what these recent questions by
Microsoft representatives mean and whether anybody knows more
about them.

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

I'm not necessarily looking for a legal opinion.  I'm reasonably 
convinced that there is nothing in ECMA C# that hasn't been done
before, and I believe that one could probably prevail given 
enough money and time.  But that's not really interesting 
as far as I'm concerned; if push comes to shove, Microsoft
could do a lot of harm with lawsuits, even if they are frivolous
and even if they shoot themselves in the foot in the process.

I'm looking for any information about Microsoft's intentions. Marketing
and legal staff often say stupid things, but there must
be some policy on these issues inside Microsoft. ECMA requires 
explicit disclosures of related intellectual property by the submitter, 
as well as other members of the organization; does anybody on the 
list know what Microsoft's statement was?  What are they telling ISO?
Also, presumably, people have technical contacts at Microsoft; what do 
they say?  Someone on the Mono list must know a bit more than what that 
interview says, and if they could share it, that would be nice.

If this question really is inappropriate and the current Mono crowd
just doesn't want to think about it, I apologize.  But then the reality
is that people really have to take that uncertainty into account when
building on top of Mono.


PS: Question 116 in the FAQ doesn't really answer this question either.
Among other things, while Mono might muddle through even if there are
patents, it could kill other C# implementations.  And the things Microsoft
has patents on might be just the things that make C# more attractive
than Java to me.

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