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Saturday, December 03, 2005

The ongoing row over software patents - as well as the role intellectual property rights (IPR) might eventually end up playing in China - surfaced again this week with telco BT seemingly ending up taking the middle ground between two names rarely out of the tech headlines these days, Microsoft and Skype. Speaking at the European Leadership Forum (ELF) in London on Tuesday, Microsoft EMEA president Neil Holloway came out with what is now a familiar cry from the Redmond software empire - that it should legally be able to protect its investment in intellectual property. It's a common refrain and a position held by most of the big software vendors. However, it is not a view held by a new breed of software providers. Among those was fellow panellist Niklas Zennström, CEO of voice over IP (VoIP) darling Skype, bought in September by eBay for a sum upwards of $2.6bn. Zennström said: "Software patents are hindering innovation. Patents should be granted when there is real innovation and real investment in innovation." Big software vendors are filing for hundreds of patents per year - in addition to thousands granted by patent offices annually - sometimes as defensive measures but often now as a revenue stream or bargaining tool with rivals in their own right. Zennström singled out 'one-click' ordering, as patented by Amazon.com, as an example of the latter. Rest of article: Here

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