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

Matt Liotta mliotta@r337.com
Fri, 18 Oct 2002 01:22:06 -0400

From my interview with David Stutz of Microsoft

Q. On which parts of the ECMA specification does Microsoft hold patents?
What are Microsoft's plans for enforcement of these patents? 

Microsoft's Stutz:
I am certainly not the right person to ask on this question, and even if
I were, I would be unlikely to be able to answer, since the Microsoft
patent portfolio is large and constantly changing, and many patents
aren't granted for years after they are submitted. 

It is important to point out that the reason that Microsoft participated
in creating ECMA 334 and 335 is precisely so that others will be able to
create their own commercial CLI implementations. Microsoft is very
interested in seeing many CLI implementations succeed. To this end,
Microsoft has said (for literally years now) that implementers of the
spec will have royalty-free access to Microsoft intellectual property
that might otherwise stand in the way of their implementing these

Matt Liotta
President & CEO
Montara Software, Inc.
888-408-0900 x901

> -----Original Message-----
> From: mono-list-admin@ximian.com [mailto:mono-list-admin@ximian.com]
> Behalf Of Tom
> Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2002 12:46 AM
> To: Michael Poole
> Cc: mono-list@ximian.com
> Subject: Re: [Mono-list] patents on ISO/ECMA C#
> > 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.
> 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
> 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
> 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
> is that people really have to take that uncertainty into account when
> building on top of Mono.
> Tom
> PS: Question 116 in the FAQ doesn't really answer this question
> Among other things, while Mono might muddle through even if there are
> patents, it could kill other C# implementations.  And the things
> has patents on might be just the things that make C# more attractive
> than Java to me.
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