Barney's Blog

Blog archive

Patent Problems Crash Third Parties

After 25 years as an IT journalist, I've seen a million patent and copyright lawsuits like the one from i4i. Often, a patent holder demands royalties. Sometimes they get a part of what they ask for, and sometimes they get beaten down by high-priced lawyers.

Some of these claims are legit. If I invented something that an IBM or Oracle used, I'd want some scratch. In other cases, entrepreneurs buy up patents then go after anyone that even comes close to infringing.

That may be the case with Gary Odom, a former Microsoft worker who is now seeking big Microsoft bucks. Apparently, Odom's job in Redmond was to protect Microsoft from these suits, and as part of his contract he agreed not to sue Microsoft himself. Instead, Odom snagged patents that he now claims Office 2007 and its ribbon interface violate.

Microsoft is a big company, and if it can handle the U.S. government, it can handle Odom. But one third party confided in me recently that Odom was, until recently, going after them. This startup needed money for development, marketing and sales. Instead, they were looking at monster legal fees. Odom let them off the hook, but apparently is still going after Microsoft third parties, especially in the development space.

When IBM was threatened with a similar suit, it quickly moved to indemnify customers and, I believe, partners. I'd love to see Microsoft do the same here! As it stands, a trial is set for next year, my source reports.

Posted by Doug Barney on August 17, 2009 at 11:53 AM


Featured

  • Silver Pins

    Microsoft Teams Sprawl: What It Is and How Partners Can Fix It

    Microsoft Teams is having its boom period and the remote-work revolution is driving it. But for many organizations, that hasn't been without its downsides.

  • The 2021 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    From Windows 10X to the next generation of Microsoft's application server products, here are the product milestones coming down the pipeline in 2021.

  • Privacy Management for Microsoft 365 Hits 'General Availability'

    Microsoft's Privacy Management for Microsoft 365 hit the "general availability" milestone on Tuesday, according to the company.

  • Notebook

    Sikich Acquires Gold Microsoft Dynamics Partner PA Group USA

    There's some consolidation happening in the Microsoft Dynamics space this week, with Sikich LLP announcing its plan to acquire Dynamics specialist PA Group USA.