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Sender ID Dead for Now and SUN-MS Agreement RE Open Office
Tuesday, September 14 2004 @ 04:45 AM EDT

Sender ID looks to be dead in the water, as far as the IETF is concerned. Or maybe it's on life support. Conceivably the decision could be reversed if Microsoft responded appropriately to concerns about their patent. Here's what the co-chairs wrote:

"3) On the issue of ignoring patent claims, the working group has at least rough consensus that the patent claims should not be ignored. Additionally, there is at least rough consensus that the participants of the working group cannot accurately describe the specific claims of the patent application. This stems from the fact that the patent application is not publicly available. Given this, it is the opinion of the co-chairs that MARID should not undertake work on alternate algorithms reasonably thought to be covered by the patent application. We do feel that future changes regarding the patent claim or its associated license could significantly change the consensus of the working group, and at such a time it would be appropriate to consider new work of this type."

And Sun has filed with the SEC, attached to their 10K, at least a redacted version of its agreements with Microsoft. There are several other documents too. One of them is particularly interesting, the humorously named Limited Patent Covenant and Stand-Still Agreement . The limit has to do with Open Office.

Take a look at what isn't covered by their promises not to sue each other over patent infringement:


"1. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Agreement, with respect solely to the product developed by Sun and generally known as Open Office, the Covenants of Section II above and the Releases of Section III above shall apply fully to Sun but shall not apply to Authorized Licensees of Open Office or any other third party. Accordingly, Microsoft shall not be foreclosed by this Agreement from seeking damages from Authorized Licensees of Open Office for copies of Open Office made or acquired prior to the Effective Date of this Agreement. Nor shall Microsoft be foreclosed from seeking any damages from Sun, its Affiliates, Authorized Licensees or any third party for any copies of Open Office made or deployed by a User after the Effective Date.

"2. In the event that Microsoft elects to sue or otherwise seek recovery from an Authorized Licensee of Open Office for copies thereof that were made and deployed by a User prior to the Effective Date of this Agreement ('Deployed Copies'), upon request, Microsoft agrees to promptly reimburse Sun for any Reimbursable Damages. Sun shall promptly notify Microsoft of any Claim, shall provide Microsoft with the opportunity to take control over and responsibility for the defense and/or settlement of such Claim, and shall reasonably cooperate with Microsoft in litigating the defense of such Claim, including in all discovery and trial preparation efforts. Microsoft will not have any obligation to reimburse Reimbursable Damages unless Sun abides by the foregoing requirements. Microsoft shall also be relieved of its obligation to reimburse Reimbursable Damages if Sun breaches any warranty in Section VII.4. As a condition to accepting control and responsibility for such defense, Microsoft shall acknowledge in writing that such third party claim constitutes a 'Claim' and, as such, would give rise to Reimbursable Damages if determined adversely. In the event that Microsoft accepts control and responsibility for such defense, Sun shall be entitled to participate in such defense at its own cost. 'Claim' means any claim that Sun is liable to indemnify or otherwise reimburse any Authorized Licensee or third party for damages it has been ordered to pay by final judgment or settlement arising from a claim asserted by Microsoft against such Authorized Licensee or third party that any Deployed Copy of Open Office infringes any patent of Microsoft. 'Reimbursable Damages' means the amount of any adverse final judgment awarded by a court of competent jurisdiction, or Microsoft approved settlement, against Sun that is based on the Claim.

"3. The Parties acknowledge that the product currently marketed by Sun as Star Office shall not be affected by this Section IV."

Section II says in part: "Subject to the exception in Section IV, each Party hereby irrevocably and perpetually covenants to the other Party not to sue the other Party or its Authorized Licensees ('Covered Entities'), or otherwise seek recovery from such Covered Entities, for Past Damages with respect to the other Party’s products and technology." And Section III carves out the time period covered. Except for Open Office. Microsoft, if I am reading this correctly, doesn't promise not to sue Sun's licensees or third parties over Open Office. Whatever might that indicate Microsoft might have in mind, do you suppose?

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