XML software patent opposition headed for court?
Microsoft refused to voluntarily surrender the patent late last month and said they would respond to the case made against them during revocation proceedings. Now anti-patent advocates are preparing to file a revocation order with South Africa\’s patent authorities.
\”They turned down our very generous offer for them to voluntarily surrender their patents,\” says University of South Africa senior lecturer, Bob Jolliffe, who has lead the challenge against the patent. \”They are now waiting to see what happens.\”
Jolliffe is currently preparing a submission that he says will be ready to file within two to three weeks.
\”My biggest concern is making sure that we get our submission very tightly put together,\” says Jolliffe.
He says Microsoft is attempting to patent \”prior art\”, as open source applications like OpenOffice.org have a history of using XML in word-processing. The patent could also be thrown out if it is proved to be a computer software patent, as these aren\’t recognised by South Africa\’s Patents Act.
Although the revocation proceedings can be handled by written submissions, there is a chance the case could reach the High Court if either party requests oral submissions, says Joliffe. And that could prove costly.
In that case, Jolliffe says they hope to raise funds from Linux Professional Association (LPA) members and the open source community, to emphasise the public\’s commitment to the challenge. They may also get help from other interested parties, he says.
\”I donâ€™t think we\’re going to get out-priced too easily.\”