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April 11, 2006

Microsoft EU Appeal Starts April 24th

When Microsoft appears before the European Court of First Instance on the 24th of April, it will argue that the EU Commission antitrust order threatens the company's intellectual property rights.  The Commission had ordered, among other things, that the company disclose certain protocols to competitors to make their software work better with Windows.  The Commission, on the other hand, contends that while Microsoft argues about its trade secrets, these do not constitute intellectual property.  The Commission also points to the dominance of Windows and states that not all Microsoft protocols are "innovative."  That was a word bandied about a lot during the U.S. trial when Microsoft claimed the need to add features to the operating system in order to innovate. 

It will be interesting to see how the CFI deals with this argument compared to U.S. Courts.  The Court has been unfriendly to the Commission in past competition rulings, although it did refuse Microsoft's request to suspend the approximately $600 million fine pending the appeal.

The documents cited in the news reports are not available at the EU Competition web site, or Microsoft's EU case news site, at least as of now. 

Stories are at CNET, TechNewsWorld, and Computerworld.

April 11, 2006 | Permalink

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