CEO

Story: Ballmer: "Number of patents Linux infringes on is declining"Total Replies: 12
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number6x

Oct 10, 2007
7:49 AM EST
  • Steve Ballmer is the CEO of a major corporation.
  • He says that he has knowledge that competitors are infringing the Intellectual property owned by the corporation he runs.
  • If he has knowledge of actual infringement and does not act to stop it, he may be allowing it to continue, by default, forever. http://dictionary.law.com/default2.asp?typed=laches&type=1
  • The stockholders of his company need to tell him to launch immediate legal action against any infringers he has personal knowledge of, or to replace him as CEO.
  • They shouldn't have to tell him, he should be able to handle this responsibility himself. If he can't handle it then he probably isn't the right person for the job of CEO.
  • If he is not telling the truth about his competitors infringing his corporation's patents, then his lies are manipulating the marketplace and affecting the stock prices of his and his competitors corporations.
  • These statements are probably actionable and possibly illegal.

    In other words, he needs to put up or shut up.
  • jdixon

    Oct 10, 2007
    7:58 AM EST
    As I noted to Bob in another thread, this should be brought up at the next shareholder's meeting, preferably as a ballot on the proxy form.
    tuxchick

    Oct 10, 2007
    8:26 AM EST
    Do you think shareholders care about issues like this? Seems like all they care about is stock performance, and if it takes a CEO swaggering around like the biggest, loudest, most moronic bully on the planet, instead of a competent businessman who actually knows how to run the company, they're fine with it.
    jdixon

    Oct 10, 2007
    8:30 AM EST
    > Do you think shareholders care about issues like this?

    Some do, some don't, TC. However, getting on the shareholders ballot would spread the word to a lot of otherwise uninformed Microsoft shareholders. It would also make the business news shows and magazines, making sure the word got spread to those who do care. Any votes it gets would be gravy.

    Oh, and anyone who cares about stock performance has been out of Microsoft for several years now.
    gus3

    Oct 10, 2007
    8:36 AM EST
    (IANAL, etc.)

    As i understand it, in the US, copyrights and trademarks must be defended immediately upon discovery of the infringement, but patents not so (laches does not apply). A patent holder can sit back and let someone else develop the market for a product, then prove infringement and get the profits.

    OTOH, the Lanham Act also applies WRT defamation as business competition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanham_Act
    number6x

    Oct 10, 2007
    8:44 AM EST
    I thought that you could (under the old system) let the infringement go on while the patent was pending, then needed to enforce it after it was granted. Now your patent clock starts ticking when you apply, so it is in a company's best interest to enforce as soon as possible.

    This is how the 'submarine patents' used to get people in trouble. I didn't think you could knowingly allow infringement of a granted patent in order to increase your windfall when you take action.

    That is exactly the kind of thing the principal of laches is supposed to stop. It helps keep competition fair and increase innovation.

    Of course, IANAL

    And TC, You are correct. But if the shareholders are made aware that their annointed CEO is allowing those 'Linux Commies' to abscond with Precious MS IP and use it in their cancerous abomination Linux, instead of using it to make the shareholders mo' money the shareholders will care.
    Scott_Ruecker

    Oct 10, 2007
    9:15 AM EST
    Read an article on BBC.com that has a picture caption saying Ballmer said its 228 patents that are being infringed.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7034828.stm
    dinotrac

    Oct 10, 2007
    10:49 AM EST
    >As i understand it, in the US, copyrights and trademarks must be defended immediately upon discovery of the infringement,

    Not exactly. You do have to defend your trademark, not your copyright or patent. WRT to trademarks, it has to do with the historical role of trademark as identifying the source of a good. If the trademark becomes generic -- like escalator, for example, it ceases to do that and hence ceases to function as a trademark.
    jdixon

    Oct 10, 2007
    11:00 AM EST
    > But if the shareholders are made aware that their annointed CEO is allowing those 'Linux Commies' to abscond with Precious MS IP and use it in their cancerous abomination Linux, instead of using it to make the shareholders mo' money the shareholders will care.

    Exactly. And the best way to inform them of this is via the proxy. And for most companies, any shareholder can get a matter put on the proxy, though the procedure is not always simple.

    Any significant number of votes requesting the company do something about the matter is sure to get the board's attention, and they'll be the ones asking Ballmer to put up or shut up.
    jdixon

    Oct 10, 2007
    11:09 AM EST
    If anyone does own Microsoft stock, and wishes to bring the matter up for a vote on the proxy statement, the relevant section from this year's proxy is:

    PROPOSALS OF SHAREHOLDERS FOR 2008 ANNUAL MEETING

    Shareholders who, in accordance with SEC Rule 14a-8, wish to present proposals for inclusion in the proxy materials to be distributed in connection with next year’s Annual Meeting Proxy Statement must submit their proposals so that they are received at Microsoft’s principal executive offices no later than the close of business on June 2, 2008. As the rules of the SEC make clear, simply submitting a proposal does not guarantee that it will be included.

    In order to be properly brought before the 2008 Annual Meeting, a shareholder’s notice of the matter the shareholder wishes to present, or the person or persons the shareholder wishes to nominate as a director, must be delivered to the Corporate Secretary of Microsoft at its principal executive offices not less than 120 nor more than 180 days before the first anniversary of the date of this Proxy Statement. As a result, any notice given by a shareholder pursuant to these provisions of our Bylaws (and not pursuant to the SEC’s Rule 14a-8) must be received no earlier than April 1, 2008, and no later than June 2, 2008, unless our Annual Meeting date occurs more than 30 days before or after November 13, 2007. In that case, then we must receive proposals no later than the close of business on the later of (a) the 90th day before the 2008 Annual Meeting or (b) the 15th day following the date on which the meeting date is publicly announced.

    To be in proper form, a shareholder’s notice must include the specified information concerning the proposal or nominee as described in our Bylaws. A shareholder who wishes to submit a proposal or nomination is encouraged to seek independent counsel about our Bylaw and SEC requirements. Microsoft will not consider any proposal or nomination that does not meet the Bylaw and SEC requirements for submitting a proposal or nomination.

    Notices of intention to present proposals at the 2008 Annual Meeting should be addressed to Corporate Secretary, Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399. We reserve the right to reject, rule out of order, or take other appropriate action with respect to any proposal that does not comply with these and other applicable requirements.

    Hopefully I'm not violating Microsoft's precious IP by copying this much from their proxy statement.
    Sander_Marechal

    Oct 10, 2007
    11:44 AM EST
    jdixon: You know a lot about that. Got MS stock?
    jdixon

    Oct 10, 2007
    12:02 PM EST
    > Got MS stock?

    No. We had some for a year or two when they offered their $3.00 special dividend. We sold when it got back to break even earlier this year or late last year.

    The information I quoted, plus a whole lot more, is available to the public on Microsoft's Investor Relations website at http://www.microsoft.com/msft/default.mspx

    The section I quoted is from their 2007 proxy statement.
    tracyanne

    Oct 10, 2007
    12:15 PM EST
    As much as anything else Bamler's utterances are designed to obfuscate, to misdirect. He's a magician, the reality is elsewhere.

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