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PATNEWS: Senators want FTC after Microsoft; Trademarks to bust patents (fwd)

  >From Gregory Aharonian's excellent PATNEWS newsletter.
  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
  Date: Mon, 30 Jun 1997 00:13:19 -0400
  From: Gregory Aharonian <srctran@world.std.com>
  Reply-To: patent-news@world.std.com
  To: patent-news@world.std.com
  Subject: PATNEWS: Senators want FTC after Microsoft; Trademarks to bust    patents
  !19970630  Senators want FTC after Micrsoft; Using trademarks to bust patents
      Dialog recently announced the availability of the full text of European
  patents on their system.
      Last Friday, a group of Republican Senators asked the Federal Trade
  Commission to investigate Microsoft over anti-trust issues.  The letter to
  the FTC was signed by Senators Conrad Burns (Montana), Ted Stevens (Alaska),
  and Craig Thomas (Wyoming), which prompted an opposing letter from Senators
  Slade Gorton (Washington) and John McCain (Arizona) writing to their fellow
  Senators to discourage any Senate action in this matter..
      Burns et. al had contacted the FTC, despite the fact that anti-trust is
  traditionally a Department of Justice matter.  The feeling among many though
  is that the DoJ has pretty much wimped out on investigating Microsoft.  Even
  though having the FTC investigate would require the FTC to encroach on the
  DoJ's turf (a major nono in Washington), many in the software industry want
  someone in Washington to be more aggressive.  Not surprisingly, it is
  thought unlikely that the FTC will act.
      Microsoft dismissed this latest tactic of its competitors, with a
  spokesperson issuing its typical deadpan humor - "Out competitors are
  continually trying to enlist the government against Microsoft, instead of
  competing on the merits of their products".  The latter part of this is
  so much economic nonsense to be grounds for an anti-trust investigation on
  its own.
      I don't expect much to happen because of this latest gesture.  The
  government will never do much against Microsoft/Intel/IBM, and their
  competitors don't have a good enough grasp of us-versus-them to do anything
  strategic.  On a lesser scale, the same muddleness is exhibited in everyone's
  software patenting strategies - the reactions are too little, too late.
  Greg Aharonian
  Internet Patent News Service