Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith today(Yes, on Saturday!) blogged about his views on recent ruling regarding consumer privacy by the US supreme court. It was the case of Riley v. California in which court ruled that warrantless searches cannot be extended to mobile devices and government agencies should get a warrant to search a device of the accused. Over time, privacy protection has advanced in key moments. These have involved judges and advocates who appreciated new technologies and found ways to ensure privacy prevailed in a changing world. This week’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Riley v. California ranks with other key historical moments. More than in any other recent decision, the Supreme Court this week advanced privacy in a digital era characterized by ubiquitous computing. As a result, the scales of justice shifted in a profound way toward a new ideal of privacy in a digital ...

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Horacio Gutierrez, Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Vice President, Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft blogged over the last weekend applauding the Supreme Court’s decision that abstract ideas are not eligible for patent protection in the Alice v. CLS Bank case. He claimed that court has correctly distinguished Alice’s invalid business method patents from valid patents that advance technology. In the recent times, there are lots of discussions happening in the technology industry on whether software patents are valid. But, this court’s ruling comes in favor that software patents are valid just like any other technology patents. The Court’s opinion follows closely the amicus brief we submitted with HP and Adobe, and recognizes that software inventions are eligible for patents, especially where they “improve the functioning of the computer itself … [or] effect an improvement in any other technology or technical field.” [p.15] Software patents are no different than other technological ...

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The United States Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Novell without comment. The lawsuit accused Microsoft of illegally protecting its Windows computer operating system from competition 20 years ago by undercutting a WordPerfect. Novell was looking to revive a lawsuit that accused Microsoft of anticompetitive conduct during development of its Windows 95 operating system in 1994. Novell said that, late in the rollout process, Microsoft withheld software components known as namespace extensions so competing developers would have trouble making their programs run smoothly on Windows. Novell said the move slowed the development of WordPerfect, a word-processing program that posed a threat to Microsoft’s Word. Novell, now part of privately held Wizard Parent LLC, argued in its appeal that Microsoft “made its own operating system less attractive to consumers in order to crush competition and protect its operating system monopoly.” A Denver-based federal appeals court threw out the lawsuit stating “antitrust laws rarely impose ...

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