ESP Wiki is looking for moderators and active contributors!

Antitrust law

Red alert.png What this entry documents is not a solution.
This practice may be ineffective or useless in the long term.
ESP's position is that abolition of software patents is the only solution.

History has shown that antitrust law and other laws to protect competition don't work against problems caused by patents.

In the EU case against Microsoft, which Microsoft lost, the final settlement allows Microsoft to use its software patents against all commercial software projects, including commercial projects that develop free software.[1]

The US case is less clear. It involves hardware manufacturers, so the existence of patent royalties isn't a crunch issue (unlike software where it breaks common software distribution models). The case in question is the Federal Trade Commission's case against Rambus provides a complicated example, without much good news. (This is well described on Wikipedia: Rambus#Lawsuits

In the European Union, this is being tested again in the case IBM and TurboHercules, 2010.

Related pages on ESP Wiki

External links


Examples involving Microsoft:


Law Antitrust law · Free software exception · Interoperability exception · Loser-Pays rule · Patent review by the public · Raising examination standards · Independent invention defense · Reducing patent duration
Litigation Invalidating harmful patents · Suing makers of unfounded accusations
Licenses Patent clauses in software licenses
Prior art Defensive publication and prior art databases
Company practice Buying harmful patents · Changing company patent policies · Defensive patent acquisition · Insurance against patent litigation · Non-aggression promise to employees · Patent non-aggression pacts · Blanket patent licences and promises