Microsoft to use intellectual property defence in anti-trust case appeal

Microsoft will appeal the European Commission’s 2004 anti-trust judgement later this month, with product innovation and intellectual property rights figuring highly in its case.

Microsoft will appeal the European Commission’s 2004 anti-trust judgement later this month, with product innovation and intellectual property rights figuring highly in its case.

The one week hearing will come as the two sides are still arguing over Microsoft’s refusal to release documentation for its workgroup server protocols in a format acceptable to the Commission.

Microsoft has met all the other conditions set in the original anti-trust decision, but because it hasn’t provided the protocol documentation in an acceptable format, it faces a daily £1.4m fine.

The documentation is needed by Microsoft’s rivals to help them more easily make rival server products that work in a Windows environment.

At a “final” hearing over last month, the European Commission went away to consider the oral evidence offered by Microsoft over the matter.

After the hearing Microsoft said it “knew what it had to do to comply”. But it wasn’t fined, and there will now be speculation that the company was perhaps holding out to the 24 April court date, which will deal with the whole judgement.

Based on court filings, Reuters reports that the court hearing will be used by Microsoft to argue that its workgroup server protocols shouldn’t have to be shared.

Microsoft will claim its Windows technology is innovative and that its Windows server protocols in particular are intellectual property that should be protected.

This is despite the fact that the company has pledged to make them freely available to other companies, as part of its long-term negotiations with the Commission.

 

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