Microsoft’s open designs included in patent applications?

In mid-​​December, a Microsoft patent appli­ca­tion for a blade server design sur­faced, showing a design sim­ilar to the specs released to the OCP. The patent has yet to be granted.

When asked whether that patent is the same design it offered to the open com­mu­nity this week, Microsoft said it is inno­vating server archi­tec­ture for its data cen­ters, including around blades and chasses, and con­tributing these spec­i­fi­ca­tions under the Open Web Foun­da­tion agree­ments, which pro­vide rights under Microsoft patents for implementers.

Despite the open-​​source nature, there are still ben­e­fits to patenting these designs.

Intel­lec­tual prop­erty rights are not nec­es­sarily incom­pat­ible with open sys­tems; they can be used to advance them,” said Kara Swanson, asso­ciate pro­fessor of law at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston, Mass.

The patentee can license others to make, use, sell or import, exclu­sively or nonex­clu­sively. It can charge a set fee or a per-​​item roy­alty, license in exchange for a cross-​​license, or license for nothing at all. The choice is theirs,” Swanson said.

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