[Re: [Re: M$SQL cleanup incentives]]

Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 14:02:09 -0500
From: "Johannes Ullrich" <jullrich@euclidian.com>

> On the other hand, Timeline's case is YEARS old and they are going
> after treble damages from companies who just took Microsoft's word
> that there was nothing to worry about. Some people should be VERY
> nervous, indeed.

Thats the part that worries me greatly. This general idea may apply
to a lot of other cases. The way I read the news story, you can not
rely on your vendor to provide you with legally licensed software.
Do you have to check for each software (firmware?) component you
buy? How do you ever find out which licensed components are included?

This is slightly different in that the case was public fairly well
known. Microsoft was asked explicitly by several customers if there
was an issue and were assured that there were none. The fact that a
company asked Microsoft when the KNEW that the license was at issue
implies that they should have asked a lawyer about it and knowingly
ignored the patent. That is the cause for treble (punitive) damages.

Any company that is can substantiate that they had no reason to
suspect a possible problem is probably safe from more than direct
damages which will amount to back royalties. (Not that this is

Oh, by the way, IANAL, so don't take this as having any actual basis
in case law.

R. Kevin Oberman, Network Engineer
Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)
Ernest O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)
E-mail: oberman@es.net Phone: +1 510 486-8634