Antitrust law is not solving the problems
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.
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
Related pages on ESP Wiki
- US Federal Trade Commission gives up antitrust proceedings against Rambus for using patents against companies it negotiated standards with
- US FTC report, 2007 (I haven't read this, maybe it's not relevant)
- YouTube video of EU Commissioner for Competition admitting that the EU ruling doesn't prevent Microsoft from demanding royalties
- MPEG LA Shrugs Off Antitrust Allegations, 20 May 2010, Law.com
- Daily Dose - Nero AG Hits MPEG-LA With Antitrust Lawsuit, 25 May 2010, Javalobby (See also: MPEG LA)
- Using the Antitrust Laws to Police Patent Privateering, 3 June 2013, Patently-O
Examples involving Microsoft:
- FSFE: Microsoft: "Our software patents preclude interoperability" 27 Apr 2006
- Interview with ECIS's Thomas Vinje and Ashwin van Rooijen, 9 Oct 2009
- "The revised interoperability settlement does not appear to deal with the inadequacies of Microsoft’s standards compliance, unfair pricing practices or other concerns related to patent abuse or standards manipulation."
- FSFE: FSFE: Microsoft settlement leaves Free Software in the cold, 10 Oct 2009
- "Free Software projects, which are often the strongest competitors to the company's offerings, will not be able to use the patent licence proposed by Microsoft."