You don't want to miss this article by Roblimo on NewsForge on "Why Microsoft's Sender ID patent should not be granted," if only for the quotation by Dan Ravicher in response to all the worries about Microsoft applying for a patent on Sender ID. He says, "A patent application is like asking a girl out on a date. It's a long way from having a baby." The article reports there are two others who implemented the same idea before Microsoft applied for their patent. And it turns out one of them was invited last year to a chat with a Utah legal firm, Workman Nydegger, which was later listed on the Microsoft Sender ID patent application. At issue is the question: was all prior art listed on their patent application? The firm has an article on patent protection and a funny, to me, picture on its homepage. It might not strike you as funny, if you haven't been around as many lawyers as I have.
Law.com has an AP report on Thursday's events in Europe in the court procedure regarding MS's attempts to get a stay of compliance during its appeal of the EU Commission's antitrust ruling regarding Windows Media Player and sharing information with competitors. According to the account, Microsoft is arguing that they would be irreparably harmed by immediate enforcement. However, note what happened during the session, where Novell pops up:
"Much of the questioning involved such technical issues as whether the specifications demanded by the EU mean competitors would 'get to know more than they need to know,' as Microsoft asserts. . . .
"He [the judge, Bo Vesterdorf] then raised a point mentioned earlier by a lawyer for Novell, Inc., which distributes the rival Linux operating system, who argued that Microsoft had offered to provide the same information during aborted settlement talks early this year. . . .
"Another high-ranking EU official, Cecilio Madero, told the judge that Microsoft had been 'ready to give more than what we were asking by our decision,' causing a flurry of activity on Microsoft's side of the courtroom.
"Microsoft's chief lawyer, Brad Smith, who had not planned to address the court, told the judge there were 'some aspects where we were prepared to go farther,' citing security of networks as an example.
'We were prepared to enter into an agreement even though at the top of the company we felt it would mean irreparable harm in a number of areas,' he said.
"A negotiated settlement would have meant avoiding a fine and years of litigation and uncertainty, he said. 'That doesn't mean the cost or the harm was taken lightly,' he added."
Finally, our archives would not be complete without the patent on "A method of styling hair to cover partial baldness using only the hair on a person's head. The hair styling requires dividing a person's hair into three sections and carefully folding one section over another." This nonobvious and altogether new invention not only was granted a patent, U.S. Patent #4,022,227, it has now won the Ig Nobel prize for 2004 in the Engineering category. Here's a picture of the event last year, and tomorrow, for those of you in the Boston area, there will be the Ig Informal Lectures at MIT . It's free and at 1 PM. The new winners "will attempt to explain what they did and why they did it" and there is a Q&A session. They promise the lectures will be brief, five minutes each. The keynote address at the Ig Nobel prize ceremony was given by 2003 Ig Nobel Literature Prize winner John Trinkaus, "author of more than 80 academic reports about things that annoyed him." The ceremony will also be presented, if you missed the live webcast, on the radio, on Friday, November 26 on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation/ Science Friday with Ira Flatow". I love the Ig Nobel awards, particularly the "operas" every year. Sadly, I missed the live webcast this year, because they did it a week earlier than usual.
Techweb's Mitch Wagner has a column in which he lists "The Best Technology Blogs", and Groklaw made the short list. He says if you are interested in the SCO story, Groklaw is a must read.
And Humorix mentions Groklaw too, in a funny piece about SCO's two remaining programmers writing a video game so players can step into their shoes for a mile:
"When asked for comment, one of the 952 members of SCO's PR department said, 'Groklaw won't give us equal time, so we have to resort to telling our story through this new video game. We can only hope that people will open their eyes to the truth and realize that IBM is the evildoer, not us. We're just trying to preserve our hard-earned intellectual property so we can feed our children.'"