Microsoft to Patent the Internet?

Has Microsoft been trying to retroactively claim IP (intellectual property) rights over many of the Internet’s basic protocols? Larry J. Blunk, senior engineer for networking research and development at Merit Network Inc., believes that might be the case.

Blunk expressed these concerns about Microsoft’s Royalty Free Protocol License Agreement in a recent note to the IETF’s Intellectual Property Rights Working Group. Specifically, Blunk suggested that Microsoft seemed to be claiming IP rights to many vital Internet protocols. And by so doing, “Microsoft is injecting a significant amount of unwarranted uncertainty and doubt regarding non-Microsoft implementations of these protocols,” Blunk said.

Blunk pointed out that Microsoft is claiming some form of IP rights over “a total of 130 protocols which Microsoft is offering for license.”

“Many of the listed protocols are [IETF] RFC [request for comment] documents, including but not limited to the core TCP/IP v4 and TCP/IP v6 protocol specifications,” he said in his note.

Some of the RFC protocols that Microsoft asserts that it may have IP rights over, such as the TCP/IP protocols and the DNS (Domain Name System), form the very bedrock of the Internet’s network infrastructure.

One thought on “Microsoft to Patent the Internet?

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    I’m an IP attorney, specializing in patents, with various clients in both the open source and proprietary software realms. I came across this blog recently, and thought I’d contribute because of a patent that came to my attention.
    <br>I wonder if one of the protocols in question in the blog here is IPv6. There is a Microsoft patent, USP 6,101,499, filed in 1998, and issued in 2000, and directed to automatic generation of IP addresses to facilitate simple network connections.
    <br>I can’t say that I have heard Microsoft say anything about this patent, but I note that Microsoft includes IPv.6 in its Windows XP product. See <a target=”_new” href=””></a&gt;. Linux also ships with an implementation of IPv.6. <a target=”_new” href=””></a&gt;. Since open source seems so antithetical to Microsoft’s business model, this kind of &quot;coincidence,&quot; coupled with Microsoft’s aggressive patent filings, kind of gives me pause.

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