Former Microsoft employee responds to spying allegations

Microsoft recently accused Mike Mullor, a former employee for applying for his job in Microsoft under false pretenses and using his role at the company to gain access to confidential data. Mullor, Chairman and Founder of Ancora Technologies has come up with a response to Microsoft's allegations, reports SeattlePI. Mullor's official statement can read here.

Mullor was hired by Microsoft as a program manager in the Windows Security Group in November 2005 after stating in his job application that he was a former employee at Ancora Technologies, a software development company, gone out of business. Later Mullor was fired from Microsoft in September 2008.

On Jan 22, 2009, Microsoft filed a complaint against Mullor in King County Superior Court claiming that Mullor was still the chief executive of Ancora and downloaded confidential documents to his company-issued laptop when working at Microsoft. Microsoft said the documents in question were related to the patent litigation Ancora filed against Dell, HP, Toshiba and Microsoft and seeked a court order barring Mullor from any involvement in the patent claim. The patent ligitation originally filed by Ancora in June 2008 claims that Microsoft's System Locked Preinstallation (Windows anti-piracy technology) infringed on an Ancora's technology covered by U.S patent 6,411,941.

The patent case is scheduled for trial on Jan 26, 2010.

Some excerpts from the statement:

I applied for my patent (No. 6,411,941) in 1998. In 2002, the patent issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2003, I approached Microsoft and had several discussions with a Microsoft lawyer and employees of Microsoft's Anti Piracy group about my invention and the benefits Microsoft could realize by using it. Microsoft declined and said they had no interest in my invention.

When I joined Microsoft later, I notified them in writing of Ancora and my patent in both my resume and in my employment agreement. In its complaint against me, Microsoft withheld the portions of these key documents that show this.

At the same time I was employed at Microsoft, but unknown to me, Microsoft was developing what is now known as "OEM Activation." OEM Activation is installed on computers made by HP, Dell, Toshiba and others (called OEMs) to prevent piracy of Microsoft's Windows Vista software installed on those computers. This work was being done in a different department at Microsoft. OEM Activation is a blatant copy of my invention. In fact, the same Microsoft person that I explained my invention to back in 2003 was involved in the development of OEM Activation.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

E3 exhibitor list revealed

Next Story

Microsoft launches Windows 7 Readiness Program

8 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Hm... Can someone tell me what the OEM Activation is and what it entails? It's tough to make a determination on a patent complaint when you don't know what each feature does...

Thanks,

OEM activation is when the hardware vendors embed a special chip on the motherboard of their PCs, or a special line of code in their BIOS, to 'identify' their computer as being a genuine HP, Dell, etc., and therefore automatically activating a certain version of windows installed on that machine.

It allows hardware companies to embed their Windows Volume License into the machine itself, so that neither the vendors or the customer have to deal with the activation process. It also allows hardware companies to embed OEM licenses for other distributed software, and even lock certain software from being installed outside a particular brand of machine.

I got my job on false pretences, I gave them lots of hogwash, but in the end, all I was after a salary, and the potential to move my career on. I have only ever been loyal to the company who paid me my salary. If this guy was employed by Microsoft, do they expect him to forget all he has learned? I bet there are few people who have left a company, and not taken any information they think may be useful at a later date. Few employees are completely loyal to their company, unless they join for life and then retire. Microsoft at this moment are "letting staff go" loyalty works both ways.

Microsoft can whine all they like. Microsoft, "what comes around goes around"!

Wait, he first met with a Microsoft lawyer and then later found out that the same lawyer was involved in OEM Activation development? Is it common for Microsoft to hire lawyers as developers?

Actually, that could explain a few things.

I think you misinterpreted the article.

In 2003, I approached Microsoft and had several discussions with a Microsoft lawyer and employees of Microsoft's Anti Piracy group about my invention .... In fact, the same Microsoft person that I explained my invention to back in 2003 was involved in the development of OEM Activation.

I think he meant one of the employees he spoke to earlier was now working with OEM activation.