Lawyer behind Android infringement claim has Microsoft ties

Naughton's Microsoft ties go missing from bio

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Edward J. Naughton, is out promoting the idea that Android violates the GPL over on Huffington Post. But Naughton seems to be hiding his ties to Microsoft.

Compare Naughton's bio on Brown Rudnick's site and then compare to the Google cached version.

Here's the original, with my emphasis:

Co-counsel defending Microsoft against a putative consumer class action alleging that it had violated wiretapping statutes and common law privacy rights by designing Windows to permit third parties to place cookies on computers. Obtained dismissal of complaint.

Microsoft is now redacted to read "Fortune 50 software company" in two places on his bio. Now, if you read through the entire thing, most of Naughton's experience is cited vaguely rather than naming specific clients. However, the Google snapshot is of the page on March 8. Naughton's story on HuffPo is from March 16. I find it a bit odd that his bio changed sometime in the last eight days to specifically retract Microsoft. Maybe in the last eight days, completely independent of Naughton's publishing a broadside against one of Microsoft's largest competitors, someone at his law firm said "hey, this goes against our style guide -- we better edit it." Maybe Microsoft contacted his law firm and asked not to be named specifically -- that happens, some companies don't like being singled out for case studies or customer win stories.

Then again, maybe Naughton felt that his attack on Android would lack credence if it were clear he had been on Microsoft's retainer.

So what about Naughton's claims? Let's say I'm not fully inclined to give Naughton the benefit of the doubt as an expert on the GPL. Eben Moglen, quoted by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, says "I would say that the issue is a little less complex and a little less dire than it might seem on first acquaintance, while the facts are not quite as simple and therefore the narrative not quite as compelling as one might be led to believe."

I'm not a lawyer, but I think that means Naughton is barking up the wrong tree.

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