MS’ FUD on offering access to their document formats


I wanted to mention the dangers of implementing any of the MS formats as they could be software patent encumbered. This has the text and it is included for posterity.

“Intellectual Property Rights Notice for Format Documentation
# Copyrights. This format documentation is covered by Microsoft copyrights. Regardless of any other terms that are contained in the terms of use for the Microsoft website that hosts this documentation, you may make copies of it in order to develop implementations of the formats, and may distribute portions of it in your implementations of the formats or your documentation as necessary to properly document the implementation. You may also distribute in your implementation, with or without modification, any schema, IDL’s, or code samples that are included in the documentation. This permission also applies to any documents that are referenced in the format documentation.
# No Trade Secrets. Microsoft does not claim any trade secret rights in this documentation.
# Patents. Microsoft has patents that may cover your implementations of the formats. Neither this notice nor Microsoft’s delivery of the documentation grants any licenses under those or any other Microsoft patents. However, the formats may be covered by Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise (available here: http://www.microsoft.com/interop/osp). If you would prefer a written license, or if the formats are not covered by the OSP, patent licenses are available by contacting iplg@microsoft.com.
# Trademarks. The names of companies and products contained in this documentation may be covered by trademarks or similar intellectual property rights. This notice does not grant any licenses under those rights.

Reservation of Rights. All other rights are reserved, and this notice does not grant any rights other than specifically described above, whether by implication, estoppel, or otherwise.

Tools. A format specification does not require the use of Microsoft programming tools or programming environments in order for you to develop an implementation. If you have access to Microsoft programming tools and environments you are free to take advantage of them.”

Looking at the patents section, I am amazed that one needs to ASK for the what is covered and what isn’t. A convenient means to add or cover up stuff.

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