The most critical element that emerged from Brad Smith's OSBC keynote is the importance of protecting the downstream. By "downstream" I mean those users who may come into contact with open-source software beyond the immediate licensee. One of the benefits of open source is that once released under a certain license, the code endures under that license.
Patents foul the water. As emerged from the question-and-answer period, while Microsoft may prefer to deal with other "cathedrals" (e.g., its agreements with Novell, LG, etc.), in open source you simply can't avoid the bazaar (e.g., downstream developers who may come into contact with the code). This is why at Microsoft's Mix conference, Mozilla's Mike Schroepfer took issue with Miguel de Icaza's suggestion that his Moonlight code is protected from patent claims:
During the discussion, de Icaza explained that anyone who downloaded Moonlight from Novell was protected by the company's licensing of Silverlight codecs from Microsoft through the company's own cross-licensing agreement. Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering from Mozilla, then raised the question that if he downloads and then distributes the code for Moonlight, would he get the patent protection?… Read more