Friday, April 28, 2006

Microsoft's European Appeal

For those interested in European law involving Microsoft.

From the NY Times:
LUXEMBOURG, April 27 — Lawyers for the European Commission and Microsoft faced tough questioning on Thursday about the 2004 antitrust ruling against the company.

During cross-examination by 13 judges of the European Court of First Instance who are hearing Microsoft's appeal of the ruling, the sharpest questions were reserved for the commission. Judge John Cooke, who will write the decision in the case, appeared to chastise commission lawyers for not taking the company's concerns about protecting its intellectual property seriously.

Under the 2004 ruling, Microsoft was ordered to disclose technical details to rival makers of software for computer servers to allow them to develop programs that work as smoothly with the Windows operating system as Microsoft's own software does. The company contends this order breaches its intellectual property rights, while the commission argues that Microsoft is seeking to preserve trade secrets that fall short of legal protection.

On Wednesday, Anthony Whelan, the commission's top lawyer handling the software development part of the case, argued that patent and copyright claims must be scrutinized by independent bodies before they were granted protection, whereas trade secrets did not. Yet the bulk of Microsoft's intellectual property argument revolves around the trade secrets in Windows that the commission wants the company to reveal.