A tale of two ways of handling patent infringements

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First there was this: “Lawsuit forces users to update Microsoft Office”.

Users of Microsoft’s Office and Access packages have been told they will have to install updates as a result of a patent infringement dispute between Microsoft and a Guatemalan inventor that has cost the software firm almost $9 million in damages.

Then we had this: “Microsoft Tells Device Makers, We’ll Foot Your Legal Bills”.

Amid a legally charged environment for makers of mobile computing devices, Microsoft said Thursday it would expand the protections against intellectual property lawsuits it offers to manufacturers who make devices that run Windows.Analysts warn that many businesses will be hit by the requirement.

Excuse me, but why are users of Office being asked to foot the (potentially large) bill of installing all these updates because of the patent infringement, when device manufacturers are given insurance against this sort of problem? Given all the FUD around how users of proprietary software were somehow better off than users of open source software, I’m really surprised by this one.

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