February 26, 2009, 12:05 pm
Right now the Microsoft claim against Tom Tom is a private dispute between those two entities concerning GPS mapping software. We do not feel assumptions should be made about the scope or facts of this case and its inclusion, if any, of Linux-related technology. Any patent litigator will tell you that the path between asserting a claim under a patent and an actual, final determination that the patent is (1)valid and (2) that the claims of the patent are actually infringed is an extremely long road. If this case is in any way directed at Linux (in fact, Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing, has specifically stated that it isn’t), the Linux ecosystem has enormously sophisticated resources available to assist in the defense of any claim that is made against Linux.
Hope for the Best
It is our sincere hope that Microsoft will realize that cases like these only burden the software industry and do not serve their customers’ best interests. Instead of litigating, we believe customers prefer software companies to focus on building innovative products.
Plan for the Worst
The Linux Foundation is working closely with our partner the Open Invention Network, and our members, and is well prepared for any claims against Linux. We have great confidence in the foundation they have laid. Unfortunately, claims like these are a by-product of our business and legal system today. For now, we are closely watching the situation and will remain ready to mount a Linux’s defense, should the need arise.