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Microsoft, Novell, and "Clone Product" Lawsuits 156

El_Oscuro writes "The MS/Novell deal specifically excludes patent protection for "clone products." In the agreement, a clone product is broadly defined as "a product (or major component thereof) of a Party that has the same or substantially the same features and functionality as a then-existing product (or major component thereof) of the other Party ... and that has the same or substantially the same user interface, or implements all or substantially all of the Application Programming Interfaces of the Prior Product." The text of the clone product definition subsections is very cumbersome to read, but it specifically mentions OpenOffice, Wine, and OpenXchange by name without asserting that they are necessarily clone products."
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Microsoft, Novell, and "Clone Product" Lawsuits

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  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xzvf ( 924443 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:14AM (#19322015)
    Novell open source users are not protected from Microsoft's vaporware patent lawsuits.
  • *Rolls Eyes* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by VE3OGG ( 1034632 ) <VE3OGG@rac . c a> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:21AM (#19322139)
    So according to their exclusion agreement, Novell can't create an operating system? While it may not use the same APIs, it sure as Hell duplicates obvious functionality (well, duplicates in the sense that they do the same thing, not in the sense of Microsoft doing it first).

    Come to mention it, if such an agreement were widespread, how would anyone ever create a better product, since by the very virtue of the fact that you need to recreate some of the functionality to improve upon it.

    Sigh, I feel as if a thousand lawyers screamed out in delight when they wrote that clause in...
  • Magic Beans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:26AM (#19322235)
    The more details come to light... the more I'm wondering what Novell got out of this deal.
  • Re:Windows Clone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The FooMiester ( 466716 ) <[goimir] [at] []> on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:27AM (#19322253) Homepage Journal
    MS would do better to stop piracy than to stop "clone products".

    Besides, what "new computing concept" have they come up with?

    I used Word Perfect before there was an MS Word

    I used visi-calc before there was an Excel.

    I can't think of one piece of software that was written by MS that wasn't written somewhere else first. I could be wrong, however.

    Unless they're talking about "look and feel", which I won't comment on.
  • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:48AM (#19322595) Homepage
    the word they're looking for is not "clone" but "competition". This is, therefore, a Very Special agreement indeed:

    "We will not sue you for patent infringement as long as your products are not similar to ours."
  • by all204 ( 898409 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @11:49AM (#19322607)
    See THATS the problem with click through licensing...
  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @12:54PM (#19323637) Homepage Journal
    As the Rebel Alliance of Linux vendors fought valiantly against the Evil Dark Forces of the Empire, little did they know that some of their supporters who claimed to be Open Source were pushing DRM behind their backs, and preparing their law suits.

    But, even if they lost the wars and were betrayed like the Jedi were, they knew that the Force would ultimately prevail, for Information wanted to be Free!
  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @12:58PM (#19323715)
    I'm soft of totally confused looking for any relevance to anything here. Microsoft gave Novell $40M, and agreed not to sue Novell's customers, unless Novell's customers were using Novell's product (the wording of the exceptions seem to exclude anything that could possibly be in a distribution).

    My question is, "What difference does the agreement make?"

    M$ could possibly sue Novel,, before the agreement was signed. Now, M$ is out $40M, and still could possibly sue Novel, et. al. The possibility of M$ winning such a lawsuit remains as remote as it was before. It appears that the $40M was simply the cost of a publicity stunt. Wouldn't another fake grassroots campaign have been more effective?

  • Re:Windows Clone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2007 @01:10PM (#19323885)
    From what you described as the "ribbon interface" in MS Office 2007, it sounds like context based toolbars. The application menu and tool bars of a mid 90s OpenDOC container part comes to mind. It's also pretty common in most word processor and spreadsheet apps since they do this when adding things like graphics and charts to a doc. And there are probably tons of other examples of menus and/or toolbars changing based on the context of the editing or user interest.

    Is this the Microsoft "innovation" you are talking about?


This process can check if this value is zero, and if it is, it does something child-like. -- Forbes Burkowski, CS 454, University of Washington