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MS-Sun Agreement Leaves Opening For OO.org Suits

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the on-what-basis-is-unclear dept.

The Courts 407

newentiti writes "We all know Microsoft paid $900,000,000.00 to Sun and they also signed a LIMITED PATENT COVENANT AND STAND-STILL AGREEMENT. The agreement basically states that Microsoft will not sue Sun for any patents for the next 10 years and vice versa. What's really interesting is that according to this story the agreement had a special provision that lets Microsoft sue anybody, including Sun, over OpenOffice.org. I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?"

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Lawsuits ala Lindows (5, Funny)

netcrusher88 (743318) | about 10 years ago | (#10257682)

Maybe Microsoft wants to sue them for the "Office" part? Appearently they thought they could sue Lindows for the "indows" part...

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (2, Funny)

Agent Green (231202) | about 10 years ago | (#10257713)

Nah...They want to sue them for the "Micro" part...so we'll have Sun Systems when it's all said and done. :)

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (1)

MemRaven (39601) | about 10 years ago | (#10257896)

Probably not, since it already exists [sunsystems.com] and has nothing to do with Microsoft.

I know, because my domestic partner works for them.

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (4, Insightful)

johnnyb (4816) | about 10 years ago | (#10257738)

I honestly think that this was just because Sun doesn't necessarily have a say in what goes into OpenOffice.org. Without this, the open-source world could simply just stick any technology into the OpenOffice.org codebase, and viola, Microsoft can't sue for infringement. I'm not a fan of software patents, but I think this really does make sense from a legal viewpoint, and is not necessarily an underhanded legal move by Microsoft.

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (1)

netcrusher88 (743318) | about 10 years ago | (#10257795)

Ok, that makes sense. But still, that's a bit weak. IANAL, but I thought that if, say, OO.org develops their own version of features that M$ has, then it's not patent infringement (for software) if they didn't copy the source, reverse-engineer, or rip any data. Of course, I could be wrong...you can't develop patented hardware and call it new.

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (4, Insightful)

Halo1 (136547) | about 10 years ago | (#10257858)

You think wrong. Copying (source or object code) is covered by copyright. Patents apply even if you developed something entirely on your own in a remote cave on a desolate island. No distinction is made between software and other things in US patent law. Reverse engineering has nothing to do with patents either, that's covered by copyright as well (and at least in Europe is explicitly allowed for interoperability purposes, I don't know about the US).

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257954)

I like to explain it this way... copyright covers the implementation while patents cover the idea itself.

An idea can have a lot of different implementations (ones that you copy or come up with in a clean room).

(and yes even this analogy isn't 100% on the mark, but it helps people to start thinking correctly about patents)

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (4, Funny)

MikeMacK (788889) | about 10 years ago | (#10257749)

No, I think it's the "Open" part that bugs them the most.

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (1)

wschalle (790478) | about 10 years ago | (#10257781)

Are the excel and word file formats patented? is it possible to patent such things?

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (1)

erotic_pie (796522) | about 10 years ago | (#10257809)

microsoft has the double click patented so I don't see why not

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (4, Informative)

Senjutsu (614542) | about 10 years ago | (#10257823)

File formats are not patentable, trademarkable or copyrightable. However, certain algorithms used to generate their contents may be patented.

Re:Lawsuits ala Lindows (3, Interesting)

FlutterVertigo(gmail (800106) | about 10 years ago | (#10257900)

I don't know if the approval has occurred yet or not, but Microsoft did apply for a patent to cover the XML format of their Office files. They obviously want to make it so no one can create software to write new Office files. I would presume reading them wouldn't be an issue because you aren't creating a structure which would be compatible with their file.

Objective (3, Funny)

Scoria (264473) | about 10 years ago | (#10257684)

I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?

Why, global domination, of course!

Re:Objective (-1, Flamebait)

SlashdotLemming (640272) | about 10 years ago | (#10257741)

2nd post modded redundant? You must be flagged a deviant.

Troublemaker

Re:Objective (2, Funny)

justsomebody (525308) | about 10 years ago | (#10257839)

I think that I'm much more in favour of "Pinky and the Brain" than "Steve and the Bill" kind of domination.

At least cartoons made more sense than Microsoft publications.

Re:Objective (5, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 10 years ago | (#10257853)

Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?

Well I think so, Brain, but didn't SCO already patent that way of doing business?

Re:Objective (1)

DeVilla (4563) | about 10 years ago | (#10257944)

I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?

Why, global domination, of course!

Am I the only person who read this as "World Damnation"

Re:Objective (1)

gollum123 (810489) | about 10 years ago | (#10257986)

microsoft going the SCO way.. wait for people to adopt the new software. after sufficient number start using it say we own the patents and u all have to pay up. more money for MS.

Perhaps... (3, Funny)

Mr Guy (547690) | about 10 years ago | (#10257685)

including Sun, over OpenOffice.org. I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?"

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say, perhaps, suing?

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257686)

This is why I'm going into the field of patent litigation. I'm sure that even if there is no suit, the lawyers made a serious chunk of cash on this deal.

Lucky guess? (0, Redundant)

TeaQuaffer (809857) | about 10 years ago | (#10257687)

"I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?"

Oh! Oh! I know! Sue everybody over OO.org?

sco (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257690)

they are gonna team up with sco and sue the shit out of us all! we gotta stop it, hes gonna kill us all!

Eh... could they really? (1, Insightful)

SalsaDoom (14830) | about 10 years ago | (#10257692)

Not sure. Honestly... do you think they can sue to get rid of the only real competition they have? I mean, they've always got the gov'ts eye on them now, and if they remove their only real desktop competitor.. what remains?

Cripes -- we'd all have to use Abiword, and after years of development that thing isn't even remotely stable.

--SD

Re:Eh... could they really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257756)

> [...] they've always got the gov'ts eye on them now

That has never stopped MS before, they'll usually laugh at any punishment handed to them.

No, the real way to handle them is to show them for what they are, get the word out and ban their products wherever possible.

Hardly seems sinister (5, Insightful)

Dav3K (618318) | about 10 years ago | (#10257693)

Please notice that items like Star Office ARE included in the agreement, so I don't think this belies any patent cases against end-users. The biggest difference between Star Office and Open Office is that one is under the control of Sun, and one is not (or at least less-so). Therefore, Sun would obviously not want to be held responsible for things beyond it's control, such as outside coders blatantly putting in patented/copywrited material into Open Office.

Sinister? Or SNL plot? (4, Funny)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | about 10 years ago | (#10257813)

Part of the analysis reads:

The rest states that Sun has to give Microsoft legal aid in bringing lawsuits against users of Open Office. Also, Microsoft will pay Sun a confidential sum for its troubles for providing that legal aid.

So, MS can sue Sun for using OO, and require Sun to help MS sue Sun, but then MS has to pay Sun for such aid???

That series of stories could be almost as entertaining as te SCO Follies!

Re:Hardly seems sinister (1)

Halo1 (136547) | about 10 years ago | (#10257821)

The agreement is not about copyright as far as I can see. That's also quite logical, otherwise Sun would be allowed to pirate all the Microsoft software it wanted. Patents and copyright are two completely different and unrelated things. The point of the covenant is exactly to allow the companies to use each other's patent portfolio's, so whether it would be done blatantly or not is irrelevant as well.

The fact is simply that for some reason, Open Office was not included in the covenant (either because Microsoft insisted on this for some reason, because Sun didn't care enough for some reason or a combination of the two).

Re:Hardly seems sinister (2, Insightful)

parcel (145162) | about 10 years ago | (#10257905)

The way I understand it (after RTFA) is that Sun would have been protected from responsibility for OpenOffice only if it had been written into the agreement. So, by not including OpenOffice in the agreement, Sun could (theoretically) be held responsible for OpenOffice.

I can't think of any other reason for this exclusion to be made other than Microsoft planning legal action against someone related to OpenOffice. It seems very odd to me that an OpenOffice clause would be written into this agreement with Sun, since it doesn't seem like Sun could be held liable for anything that OpenOffice does anyways. This is where I could be wrong... I couldn't find on openoffice.org what kind of ties to Sun remain, so I'm assuming there are very few if any.

Possible Simple Explanation (5, Insightful)

donscarletti (569232) | about 10 years ago | (#10257696)

It could simply be that Microsoft does not trust the open source community not to flagrantly disregard all microsoft patents when modifying OO.o if they were given immunity from civil action.

That said, I this is Microsoft and their legal actions have rarely been that benign in the past.

Could Be (2, Interesting)

michael.teter (811516) | about 10 years ago | (#10257782)

Could be that MS does fear that OO will blatantly "steal" patented MS Office technology.

Or it could be that MS has intent to sue OO after MS receives a patent for something novel (like using a Tab key to jump between items) and then chooses to sue OO for _stealing_ their critical technology.

Sadly, I'm thinking it's the latter.

Re:Possible Simple Explanation (1)

Ignignot (782335) | about 10 years ago | (#10257787)

That said, I this is Microsoft and their legal actions have rarely been that benign in the past.

You seem to be confusing them with some other company like SCO or something. I don't like microsoft and its products, but MS doesn't just go around suing everyone. Instead they tend to do whatever they want and then try to defend it later in court, after they have a market behind them. Kneejerk Microsoft bashing at its finest.

Re:Possible Simple Explanation (2, Interesting)

iamdrscience (541136) | about 10 years ago | (#10257857)

While that is true, and is one of the more sensible explanations provided so far on here, it still doesn't quite answer all the questions. Wouldn't Microsoft want to avoid all Open source projects from Sun disregarding their patents?

More importantly though, this path of thinking brings up some disturbing ideas in my head about ways GPLed projects could be controlled. Example: Suppose a company decides to start a GPL/BSD/etc. licensed project and this company has many software patents, and/or a cross-licensing agreement with another company that has a number of software patents. Since this project was started and is maintained by the company, it can obviously use their patents, but if somebody else decided they wanted to fork this GPLed code, they would not be allowed to without removing the patent infringing code, correct? Even if they are, it's somewhat of a legal grey area, is it not?

Office is their cash cow obviously (2, Insightful)

Serveert (102805) | about 10 years ago | (#10257698)

They want to leave any dirty trick open just in case.

Re:Office is their cash cow obviously (3, Funny)

netcrusher88 (743318) | about 10 years ago | (#10257727)

Office is their (cash) cow
Beef...it's what's for dinner

hmmm... that was a fast /.ing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257699)

Well the site died (well, at least the database did).

Sec Doc (3, Informative)

mlmitton (610008) | about 10 years ago | (#10257705)

Here's the original SEC document: http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/709519/00011931 2504155723/dex10109.htm

Re:Sec Doc (2, Informative)

mlmitton (610008) | about 10 years ago | (#10257790)

Oops--there's an extra space between the 1 and 2. Should have checked the link. I'l try again: http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/709519/00011931 2504155723/dex10109.htm [sec.gov]

Re:Sec Doc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257985)

Actually, you did OK. Slashcode inserts spaces into extremely long words to prevent page-widening nuisance posts. Putting it in a link solves that problem.

--Short Circuit

Holy #$#@$ (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257712)

visa versa

Jesus Christ. How hard is it to use simpler terms if you don't know that the *complex* ones mean? Lets atleast try to keep it a little professional editors. Please.

Re:Holy #$#@$ (4, Informative)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 10 years ago | (#10257902)

What is up with people saying 'visa versa' rather than 'vice versa' (pronounced VICE-uh VERSE-uh, but I hear no -uh on VICE more often, which I think is okay)

vice/vix is latin for position. I don't think visa is anything in latin, or if it is I don't think it would make sense.

No dictionary lists 'visa versa' or 'visa verse'. Most of them list 'vice versa'. I wish I knew why so many people say/spell 'visa'. (I'm guessing they say "vice-uh", and think it's spelled 'visa'. but in english visa would be 'vee-za')

Here's a hint to everyone. Whenever you use a word or phrase, even a simple one you've used since you were a child. Look up it's meaning. It only takes a few minutes and you can use language more effectively if you have a more precise idea of a word's meaning. If you do this consistently, when you go to look up "visa versa" and find it's not there you'd realize the mistake. :)

Re:Holy #$#@$ (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | about 10 years ago | (#10257976)

Don't point these things out, you will be modded down for speaking out against the tide, I did once, namely to point out that color is actually colour but hell now my karma is bad, its very hard to change from that now. Let them carry on with their mistake, you are not changing the world with that post.

It is simple - FUD (3, Insightful)

filesiteguy (695431) | about 10 years ago | (#10257722)

Microsoft is great at spreading FUD. They have a stated goal to rid the desktop world (since they can't compete on a server level) of other OS's. Hence, they wish to have us stop using OO. I personally say, bring it on.

They can go ahead and sue a non-profit organziation. I wonder what kind of goodwill that'll bring.
-----

Re:It is simple - FUD (1)

Tebriel (192168) | about 10 years ago | (#10257742)

Uh, shouldn't any for-profit company want to grab the largest market share they can? Of course they want to be #1. That's good business.

Their methodology is a different discussion.

Re:It is simple - FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257832)

The parent implied in his wording "get rid of other OS'es" that the methodology was improper. Ideally company X doesn't try to "get rid of" company Y; they try to outperform company Y, and this happens to either dissipate or reconfigure that company.

Re:It is simple - FUD (4, Insightful)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | about 10 years ago | (#10257883)

Uh, shouldn't any for-profit company want to grab the largest market share they can? Of course they want to be #1. That's good business.

Actually, no. Companies that go for market share often lose sight of the most important thing: profitability. Granted, getting the most market share can lead to economies of scale, but the costs to get that market share (from reduced prices, marketing expenses, etc.) can easily swallow any increase in profits. This is one of the reasons why slashing prices to gain market share almost always results in lower profits.

Smart, successful companies know when to walk away from market share in order to maintain profitability. Dumb ones blindly go for the "sell at a loss and make it up on volume" mantra.

MS Earth (3, Funny)

michael path (94586) | about 10 years ago | (#10257725)

I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?

Rebranding the planet Microsoft Earth [microsoft.com] ®

Re:MS Earth (4, Funny)

grunt107 (739510) | about 10 years ago | (#10257833)

Well, there IS alot of Blue... Hmmm - How do you reboot a planet (Ctrl-Alt-Nuke?)?

Re:MS Earth (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 10 years ago | (#10257836)

As long as they don't remove the planet from the sphere of influence of the Sun ...

Re:MS Earth (4, Funny)

Dirtside (91468) | about 10 years ago | (#10257941)

Rebranding the planet Microsoft Earth®
Would this leave us vulnerable to the Blue Sky of Death?

Change the name (5, Interesting)

BigDish (636009) | about 10 years ago | (#10257729)

IANAL, but it would seem to me if Sun changed the name of OpenOffice, this exemption for MS would no longer apply?

Re:Change the name (1)

RLW (662014) | about 10 years ago | (#10257801)

Perhaps. But what if StarOffice becomes SunOffice and OpenOffice becomes StarOffice ?

Re:Change the name (1)

foxhound01 (661872) | about 10 years ago | (#10257865)

how about killing off OO.o for a while, and starting a *new* open source version of StarOffice, with a slightly different open source license...

Re:Change the name (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | about 10 years ago | (#10257819)

No.

If you marry a girl, and the girl then changes her name, you don't need to get an all-new marriage.

Re:Change the name (3, Funny)

Gaewyn L Knight (16566) | about 10 years ago | (#10257822)

Just please don't let them change it to Firemoth or Thundercat!

Re:Change the name (2, Insightful)

Dynedain (141758) | about 10 years ago | (#10257827)

Sun can't change the name of OpenOffice.org (the .org is part of the name btw). They can change the name of StarOffice which is their branded version of OpenOffice.org.

And I doubt the legal agreements are so loose that simply changing the name of the product invalidates the contract. They pay the lawyers big money for a reason.

Re:Change the name (5, Funny)

ricotest (807136) | about 10 years ago | (#10257854)

IANAL

With reasoning like that, you should be! I think you could really help SCO's case.

Optimism (2, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | about 10 years ago | (#10257731)

Maybe I'm putting too much faith in Sun, but I'd like to think that if Microsoft sued OO, then Sun would help them out.

The most interesting part (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257737)

The part I found most interesting is that the agreement states that Sun will turn over any patent violations to MS for prosecution. What do they have in mind?

Dead already (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257744)

If only ./ had linked via Coral [nyud.net] , the site could have survived. Too late now...

legal strategy? (3, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | about 10 years ago | (#10257752)

Its pretty obvious that Microsoft wants to preserve their right to sue, but I'm surprised that the deal with sun provides an exception. If the two agree that there is a real prospect of Microsoft winning a suit over OpenOffice.org, I would think that Sun would want to be protected and would have held out until Microsoft agreed. And I would think that Microsoft would have agreed, if they really wanted the deal with Sun, perhaps with the likely damages subtracted from Microsoft's payment to Sun. So what this suggests to me is that Microsoft's legal strategy involves a suit in which for some reason it would be difficult to avoid naming Sun as a defendant but in which Sun does not anticipate actually have to pay any significant damages or litigation expenses. I'm not sure how this situation would arise - maybe a situation in which MS has to name everybody initially but would then drop Sun as a defendant after discovery?

Re:legal strategy? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 10 years ago | (#10257961)

Its pretty obvious that Microsoft wants to preserve their right to sue, but I'm surprised that the deal with sun provides an exception. If the two agree that there is a real prospect of Microsoft winning a suit over OpenOffice.org, I would think that Sun would want to be protected and would have held out until Microsoft agreed.

I dunno...

90% of one BILLION dollars is a lot to play chicken over.

If the terms are essentially "This agreement doesn't cover Open Office but does cover everything else" I can easily see Sun (which is a bit strapped for cash) putting Open Office off to another day.

Sun should get sued... (0, Troll)

Dante Shamest (813622) | about 10 years ago | (#10257755)

for unleashing Java upon the world.

Re:Sun should get sued... (1)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | about 10 years ago | (#10257778)

I guess your still using VB, eh sparky?

Re:Sun should get sued... (1)

Dante Shamest (813622) | about 10 years ago | (#10257824)

>> I guess your still using VB, eh sparky? Never used VB. Me a C/C++ kind of guy. Only used Java when the higher-ups force me to.

Re:Sun should get sued... (1)

JohnnyCannuk (19863) | about 10 years ago | (#10257945)

Well, me too. And I also do a lot of Java and I quite like it. 'To each their own' I suppose and 'right tool for the job' and all that.

I use a lot of server side Java and I do stuff with Jini that I could never have done with C or C++ (easily).

But hey, if you don't want to use java that's fine with me. More income for me. ;)

Re:Sun should get sued... (2, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | about 10 years ago | (#10257800)

Yeah, because java is so much worse than .NET.

Re:Sun should get sued... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257838)

Doesn't matter what its worse than, it just matters that Java totally sucks balls. Never liked it, still don't. Kind of like c++, except it takes more code to do anything worthwhile, and it is slow as shit.

And your mother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257885)

... should be locked up for unleashing an ignoramus on us.

Respect Me in the Morning (2, Funny)

4of12 (97621) | about 10 years ago | (#10257760)


I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?

No wonder. It's clear that Clippy [missstrict.net] is going to sue erstwhile Office users under the "Alienation of Affection" [equityfeminism.com] provision of the EULA [slashdot.org] you clicked through so quickly under the heated passion [iht.com] of the moment.

It's obvious why they left Open Office out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257763)

They have patents on all of their new Office file formats, so if the open source OpenOffice tries to be compatible, they still want to sue over it. It's an attempt to keep their stranglehold/cash cow Office safe. Not only will they force upgrades with thier proprietary file format, now they'll also bar any sort of competition with their patents.

Re:It's obvious why they left Open Office out (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257861)

simple solution. a one way stand alone converter hosted and "written" in china.

an Office to Open Office converter would be great! you do not need to convert the other direction as items saved as rtf and renamed to .doc open fine in Ms office and get's past the extremely stupid PHB's, HR and Secretaries that DEMAND .doc format.

simply give OO.o the option to save as rtf with .doc extension.

personally a Msoffice to sxw distiller would be a great item to have, think of it running as a daemon... finding all .doc .xls and .ppt files and making a copy in the OO.o formats.

Could be... (5, Interesting)

ElGuapoGolf (600734) | about 10 years ago | (#10257774)


What could happen is this...

I remember reading that MSFT was going to tie some DRM into future versions of office... only "authorized" people could view documents. You'd, of course, need a MSFT policy server somewhere on your network to make sure you could set these permissions, and view documents, and all that good stuff...

If OpenOffice decided to reverse engineer this, the loophole lets MSFT sue them.

Does anyone remember the good old days when you could save your Word 6 doc, open it in WordPefect, and work on it there? Or, hell, when you could save your GeoWrite document, open it it Word Writer, and work on it there? What the hell happened?

HTML was invented (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257810)

HTML was created as a common document format, available to all.
MS had fun with that attempt at a common format too.

What happened is... (2, Funny)

Mike Hawk (687615) | about 10 years ago | (#10257868)

People wised up and realized that the internet is an evil place. Noone can be trusted. Least of all open source software users and developers. The only way to be secure in one's information is to trust MS and MS alone. Its really the natural evolution of things. Me thinks you doth protest too much.

Re:Could be... (2, Insightful)

twos (83031) | about 10 years ago | (#10257887)

You can still do that, for the most part. Just save your documents in Rich Text Format.

Re:Could be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257924)

this [wednet.edu]

Server melting... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257775)

Quote...
According to the recently released financial documents to the SEC, besides the 900,000,000.00 being paid to Sun, a LIMITED PATENT COVENANT AND STAND-STILL AGREEMENT was also enacted.

IV. PROVISIONS RELATING TO OPEN OFFICE

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.


So basically, while Microsoft will not sue Sun for any patents for the next 10 years and visa versa (Cross Licensing Agreement). Microsoft can sue anybody, including Sun over Open Office (Sun's Star Office is protected). This is probably as close as Microsoft can legally get to buying Open Office.

The rest states that Sun has to give Microsoft legal aid in bringing lawsuits against users of Open Office. Also, Microsoft will pay Sun a confidential sum for its troubles for providing that legal aid.


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.


LIMITED PATENT COVENANT AND STAND-STILL AGREEMENT [sec.gov]

When MSFT sues, it's protecting private property. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257783)

When MSFT gets sued, it's anti-innovation and anti-private property.

You just can't figure out these hypocrite bastards.

Well, let's hope their Jesus fearing stooge John Ashcroft is handling snakes back in Missouri next January.

FUD (4, Insightful)

fmaxwell (249001) | about 10 years ago | (#10257802)

The most obvious reason to have such an exemption is the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) factor. Microsoft is probably deadly-afraid of small busineses (that will someday be big businesses) standardizing on OO rather than paying a king's ransom for MS Office licenses. By leaving these businesses to wonder if they will be sued or whether OO will disappear due to litigation, some of those businesses will consider ponying up the money for MS Office.

full text (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257804)

According to the recently released financial documents to the SEC, besides the $900,000,000.00 being paid to Sun, a LIMITED PATENT COVENANT AND STAND-STILL AGREEMENT was also enacted.

IV. PROVISIONS RELATING TO OPEN OFFICE

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.

So basically, while Microsoft will not sue Sun for any patents for the next 10 years and visa versa (Cross Licensing Agreement). Microsoft can sue anybody, including Sun over Open Office (Sun's Star Office is protected). This is probably as close as Microsoft can legally get to buying Open Office.

The rest states that Sun has to give Microsoft legal aid in bringing lawsuits against users of Open Office. Also, Microsoft will pay Sun a confidential sum for its troubles for providing that legal aid.

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.

OpenOffice is nothing to do with Sun surely?... (4, Insightful)

Numen (244707) | about 10 years ago | (#10257811)

Ummm, isn't OpenOfice administered seperate from Sun? In which case why would an agreement with Sun cover OpenOffice?

One could equally say the agreement left open the possibility of suing people over Linux, or indeed washing machines.

I doubt Sun wants to enmesh itself as responsible for washing machines anymore that they would OpenOffice... yes I understand where OpenOffice comes from, but ask yourself if you;d want blurry lines if you were Sun.

Perhaps the spin on the reportage is a little askew. I'm not sure one can infer any intent on Microsofts part.... unless of course MS are planning on suing makers of washing machines.

visa versa? (4, Funny)

spectrokid (660550) | about 10 years ago | (#10257814)

Microsoft will not sue Sun for any patents for the next 10 years and visa versa.

visa versa? is that like the back side of your credit card?

Re:visa versa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257845)

Hehehe

Open Office vs. OpenOffice.org (4, Insightful)

Derf_X (651876) | about 10 years ago | (#10257834)

I RTFA, and it mentions Open Office, not OpenOffice.org, which are actually different things if I'm not mistaken. I wonder if the name difference would stand in court.

war of attrition (5, Insightful)

OklaKid (552472) | about 10 years ago | (#10257844)

they only way to deal with the tyrant of Redmond is a war of attrition...
no quarter, no mercy, just cut em off completely, send msft to the recycle bin of history forever...
msft is not to be trusted under any circumstances...
this has already been done both in my office and at home...

Re:war of attrition (1)

savagedome (742194) | about 10 years ago | (#10257981)

send msft to the recycle bin of history forever..

And, Right Click and "Empty Recycle Bin" and done!

That's a April's fool joke (2, Insightful)

shailu (711211) | about 10 years ago | (#10257851)

Haven't you noticed agreement's effective date - This Limited Patent Covenant and Stand-Still Agreement (the "Agreement") is entered into as of this 1st day of April, 2004 (the "Effective Date") See this url http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/709519/00011931 2504155723/dex10109.htm [sec.gov]

Microsoft "pretend" enemy. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257855)

Just like Apple. Sun is a "pretend" enemy of Microsoft. They pretend to fight but at the end of the day, they wind up sleeping together. This is just like Apple Computer.

In that spirit of interoperation, we were very pleased a few months ago to reach a pretty major agreement with Apple to work together on a lot of things, extending some cooperation that had broken down in the past that we thought was very important, and adding some new things as well. One of the things we've always had is a dedicated team focused on our Macintosh browser work--the Internet Explorer group for the Macintosh. That team is actually down in this area. It makes it easier for them to work closely with Apple. They don't just take the approach of porting the code across. They do take advantage of some of the Windows code, but they also do the special work to take advantage of the unique Macintosh environment, and so we're very pleased to be working with Apple, including supporting unique things.
-Bill Gates

Evil.... (1, Interesting)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | about 10 years ago | (#10257879)

I think it's possible Microsoft plans on suing individuals who contribute code freely to OpenOffice.org.

If I'm right, then they can discourage developers from writing code for FOSS software by scaring them away.

Microsoft Patent Violation (2, Funny)

GhodMode (587557) | about 10 years ago | (#10257897)

Hasn't Microsoft(TM) patented the word(TM) Office(TM) along with the words Windows(TM) and Word(TM)?

The mere existence of OpenOffice.org is a blatant disregard for copyright laws!

<g>

* Copyright Microsoft 1980-2100. All Rights Reserved. Resistance is futile.

Time to switch to Abiword... (1, Interesting)

teks0r (622346) | about 10 years ago | (#10257908)

I used to have OO.o installed on my old Red Hat box and it was nice to have a free Office suite which basically did most everything I used the "real" Office suite for... but on my new install, I've installed Abiword and Gnumeric and I must say that I'm quite pleased with them, not to mention they use a native widget set instead of 'god-knows-what'....

Go open source!

It may be reasonable after all (4, Insightful)

CTalkobt (81900) | about 10 years ago | (#10257909)

Consider that Microsoft may reasonably be looking after their own self-interest. In this case, I think it may be fair for them to try and prevent individuals outside of Sun to incorporate something into OpenOffice that is owned by them. I don't see it as a "pre-emptive" strike but merely a reservation of rights. Sun is still free to utilize what they wish for SunOffice - they just can't distribute it back to the open source community.

This is not a troll. I don't like Micro$haft but I don't see this as the evil, bad thing everyone else says it is.

What it will eventually boil down to is, how do they utilize (if they do) this provision?

Nitpicky bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257918)

Yes, I am, but it's vice versa [bartleby.com]

Otto Von BIll Gates? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257921)

This is post-ww1 all over again.

My god... (1)

jwcorder (776512) | about 10 years ago | (#10257934)

No matter how much you hate the green giant, you have to LOVE this. MS basically said, "We are going to give you 900 million to leave us alone about all this stuff that doesn't matter to us, but we want to be able to sue you for all the stuff that does."

Also, mod points to the author for 900,000,000 and not just saying 900 million.

Work Safe: Frank Sinatra vs. Al-Qaeda Song (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257937)

Visa versa (4, Funny)

Espectr0 (577637) | about 10 years ago | (#10257942)

visa versa

I can see the VISA ad: "Because Microsoft won't take American Express"

Conspiracy theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10257949)

This article really should have an icon with Dr. Evil putting his pinky up to his lips instead of the justice icon.

Microsoft's mind is transparent to me... (1)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | about 10 years ago | (#10257971)

I wonder what Microsoft had in mind?

I do not wonder. I am sure Microsoft Collective had in his mind our money they'll never reach anymore.
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