Posted by David HowardCorporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel
Last Friday afternoon, I learned that a batch of court documents had been unsealed and had revealed one particularly striking development: the United States Department of Justice had rejected Google’s claim that Google Apps for Government, Google’s cloud-based suite for government customers, has been certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Given the number of times that Google has touted this claim, this was no small development.
How did this all come about? Last year, the Department of the Interior selected Microsoft offerings for its new cloud-based email system. In October, Google responded by suing the Government. As a result, the work of engineers and IT professionals was replaced, at least temporarily, by filings by lawyers. This meant significant delay for the Department of the Interior, which was trying to save millions of dollars and upgrade the email services for its 88,000 employees. Google announced its lawsuit with a proclamation of support for “open competition.” It then touted the security benefits of Google Apps for Government. Google filed a motion for a preliminary injunction telling the court three times in a single document (see pages 18, 29, & 37), that Google Apps for Government is certified under FISMA.
Google has repeated this statement in many other places as well. Indeed, for several months and as recently as this morning, Google’s website states, “Google Apps for Government – now with FISMA certification.” And as if that’s not sufficient, Google goes farther on another webpage and states "Google Apps for Government is certified and accredited under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)."
Posted by Richard BoscovichSenior Attorney, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit
Today, the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice announced a legal and technical operation to take down the Coreflood botnet, using a civil suit for a temporary restraining order against the operators of the botnet and criminal seizure warrants in order to disable the botnet’s infrastructure.
We commend the FBI and DOJ for the action against Coreflood . There is clearly strong public and private momentum in the fight against botnets and the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit was happy to provide technical information from the lessons we learned from the recent Rustock and Waledac botnet takedowns to assist these agencies in their operation.
Today, the Supreme Court will hear argument in Microsoft v. i4i, which industry watchers have described as the most important and far-reaching intellectual property case of the year. As general counsels for prominent innovators in the United States today, we could not agree more.
The case revolves around the standard of proof that must be met by those who seek to challenge the validity of a patent in court. The law states that patents, which are generally issued by the Patent Office solely on the basis of supporting information submitted by the patent applicant, are to be presumed valid. Since the 1980s, however, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees patent appeals, has required a challenge to a patent's validity be proved by a heightened standard of “clear and convincing evidence,” as opposed to the lower “preponderance of evidence” standard routinely applied in civil lawsuits. The issue is far more than a technicality, as it can have far-ranging effects on innovation and technology businesses.
While patent law does not require it, Congress never intended it, and Supreme Court rulings have questioned it, the “clear and convincing” standard has been applied to all challenges - even when the patent examiner who approved a patent application never considered the evidence being used to prove that the patent is invalid.
Posted by Bill HarmonAssociate General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit
As you may have seen on CNN or from one of many other media and online reports, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s DNA Foundation launched an innovative and interactive digital campaign this week that enlists the public’s help in the fight against child sex trafficking.
The campaign features videos of well-known celebrities sending the message that “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls”. With this campaign, the DNA Foundation aims to help change the social dynamics that enable the child sex trade today. Child sex trafficking is a difficult topic, one that many people would prefer to look away from, so we commend DNA Foundation for this daring approach that will get people talking – and thinking.
Microsoft works with advocates, governments, law enforcement, academics and industry stakeholders, including the DNA Foundation, around the world to combat technology-facilitated crimes against children.
Posted by Jason AlbertAssociate General Counsel for IP Policy & Strategy, Microsoft
Today marks World Intellectual Property Day, an annual celebration of the role intellectual property plays in shaping the world around us. The theme for this year’s celebration is Designing the Future, with a focus on “the role of design in the marketplace, in society and in shaping the innovations of the future.”
Given that design protection has traditionally focused on physical products – the shape of Hershey’s Kisses or the VW bug – it might not be intuitively obvious why a software company should be excited about this form of IP. But designs play an increasingly important role in the technology sector. Whether it is the elegant physical design of a smartphone or the innovative user interface of a software application, good design drives market enthusiasm for technology products. And as more and more of our daily activities migrate online and to the cloud, designs will migrate from the shapes of things made in factories to the shapes of things rendered on computer screens.