Jeroen Dekkers <> writes:

> At Thu, 19 Sep 2013 10:10:24 +0200,
> Rémi Letot wrote:
>> Ludovic Marcotte <>
>> writes:
>> > 1. create an Active Sync bundle in SOGo for synchronization
>> > 2. license it under a free but non-GPL (BSD, for example)
>> > 3. distribute it for free
>> >
>> > We can't use the GPL because of patents
>> > restrictions. Z-Push/OPush/Synchotron are all using patented
>> > technologies without a license and Microsoft currently does not
>> > license to GPL implementations - so using these is not an option.
>> Don't forget that software patents are invalid in big parts of the
>> world, so these technologies are not infringing anything there.
>> > Since the addition of Active Sync support in SOGo would be a
>> > server-side implementation, there would be a per-mailbox fee to use
>> > it. That fee, would have to be paid to Microsoft directly. On our end,
>> > everything would be free of use.
>> Again, that fee would only apply where software patents are valid, which
>> is great news for European users like me :-)
> I would advise anyone who is going to professionally run an ActiveSync
> service to not just think software patents are invalid in Europe and
> at least ask for legal advice.
> The situation is unfortunately a lot more complex than software being
> patentable or not. In Europe "software as such" is not patentable and
> what "as such" exactly means isn't really clear. The EPO
> interpretation is very narrow and the EPO has granted a lot of
> software patents. 

Which does not mean that these patents would hold in court. But I agree:
defending oneself could be prohibitively expensive, and hasardeous.

> I'm not following all the things going on in software patent world
> anymore, but as far as I remeber a UK court did invalidate a patent
> because it was on "software as such". On the other hand a Dutch court
> enforced a software patent from Apple on the photo gallery of some
> Samsung phones. I don't know if Samsung had tried to get the patent
> invalidated on the basis that is a patent on "software as such", 

AFAIK, it was not on software «as such», but on the way the user
interracts with the interface (which itself is implemented in software),
which is a whole different thing.

> but I think we can't just disregard all microsoft patents on the basis
> that software patents aren't valid in Europe.

Of course not, but software patents and patents on protocols or
interfaces are completely out of scope in Europe (despite the EPO
granting them). I can't see what in the active sync protocol could be
considered patentable in Europe, there is no interraction with «the
forces of nature» that I'm aware of.

Microsoft could still try to defend it's patents in court, which would
be a definitive blow to any European small business, but I really don't
think they would risk confirmation of the invalidity of their patents
for any small business scale operation. 

Now of course IANAL, this is only IMHO and all :-)



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