Thinking more about all those darned coincidences in the IP Innovation lawsuit launched against Red Hat and Novell recently over the Linux desktop, I decided to list them out:One or more former Microsoft licensing execs join Acacia or one or its companies; Ballmer makes his most recent statement regarding Red Hat; Almost the same day, Red Hat (and presumbably Novell) receive notice of the alleged infringement from IP Innovation (Acacia); Before either company has a chance to consider the letter and respond, IP Innovation files its lawsuit in Texas;… Read more
Sometimes you just have to sing. I read Groklaw's report on a new lawsuit launched by IP Innovation (subsidiary of Acacia) against Novell and Red Hat over Linux desktop infringements of its "a User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" patent and just wanted to break out into Stephen Sondheim:
Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer? Losing my timing this late In my career? And where are the clowns? Quick, send in the clowns. Don't bother - they're here.
Why clowns? Well, the more Groklaw digs into this, the more it looks like the ultimate patent troll/clown, Microsoft, may be behind this all. Some might say that Ballmer always sings on cue, and surely his commentary about Red Hat last week may be coincidence or simply poor timing, but Monsieur le Troll must be smiling, regardless.
Groklaw writes:… Read more
Vonage has asked a federal appeals court to revisit its recent decision to uphold most of a patent infringement ruling in a case it lost to Verizon Communications.
The Internet phone company characterized the request for a rehearing as the "next logical step" in the litigation process and in "moving our business forward."
The struggling firm also continues to "explore all legal options available to put the Verizon litigation to rest," Chief Legal Officer Sharon O'Leary said in a statement Wednesday.
Could that mean another out-of-court settlement is on the horizon? Earlier this … Read more
It's almost time for another patent and intellectual property auction from Ocean Tomo, and the gem in the catalog this time is a patent on a poker game.
Invented by Anthony Cabot, the game, informally called Multiway Poker, involves dealing 25 cards facedown in a 5x5 array. You then make hands out of the rows. In all, there are 12 hands in each deal: five vertical rows, five horizontal rows and two diagonal ones. There are a ton of variations, but the most common is draw poker.
The patent, No. 7,007,953, has an expected value of $75,… Read more
Mark Shuttleworth has reacted to Steve Ballmer's goofy Linux commentary with considerable aplomb (and not the splenetic fervor I sometimes spew :-). Microsoft can't seem to get it out of its collective mind that open-source developers care about intellectual property (even if we don't always call it that) as much as proprietary developers do. We just opt to share it rather than to horde it.
Mark says:Intellectual property is something the free software community takes very, very seriously. There is a perception that the free software is somehow riding on the coattails of the real industry or somehow avoids intellectual property laws.
The contrary is actually the case. Mark cites Firefox and Xen as two areas where Microsoft - and the proprietary world - has actually copied the open-source world.
Which leads to Mark's most interesting comment: Microsoft is a pirate that trades on others' IP to the tune of over $1 billion each year:… Read more
Internet telephony provider Vonage said Monday that is has settled its patent dispute with Sprint Nextel.
The two companies have entered into a licensing arrangement that allows Vonage to use patents for voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, technology that are held by Sprint.
Vonage has agreed to pay Sprint a total of $80 million, according to the company. This includes $35 million for past use of the license, $40 million for a fully paid future license and $5 million in prepayment for services.
In September, a Kansas jury found that Vonage had infringed six Sprint patents. And it ordered … Read more
Oh, my. Sometimes the cheek of the proprietary world just becomes a tad too much. That's what I thought when I read this on CIO.com about IBM attempting to patent offshoring. You know, that practice that requires hefty innovation and a large investment of time and R&D dollars?
At times it's depressing to live in the United States when such buffoonery is commonplace.
Stephanie Overby at CIO.com writes:Those new to the world of IT services might be taken aback by a vendor bold enough to propose that it had invented this unique process called "offshoring." Those familiar with IBM know it?s just another day at the office.… Read more
It's almost shameful how paltry Novell's understanding of open source is. I don't say this to denigrate anyone personally, but when I read things like this from Groklaw I just can't understand how Novell manages to say "open source" with a straight face.
I'm all for using open source as a capitalist weapon. But this is the opposite of that. It's an attack on open source by a company that claims to espouse it. And it relies on deliberate falsehoods to propagate its still anemic success.
Pamela writes:Justin Steinman reveals that to market their SUSE Linux Enterprise Server against Red Hat they ask, "Do you want the Linux that works with Windows? Or the one that doesn't?" It's just appalling. Let me ask you developers who are kernel guys a question: When you contributed code to the kernel, was it your intent that it be used against Red Hat?… Read more
I was reading Dave Rosenberg's commentary on Novell's patent deal with Microsoft and got to thinking about how much "protection" there actually is in the relationship. Novell has been selling this protection hard to its Suse prospects ("Linux is scary because Microsoft might sue. But we have a deal with Microsoft..."). Extortion? Sure. But for some it seems that integrity has a price.
For those who can't be bought, just how much protection are you missing? Not very much, it seems to me, and to a range of open-source legal experts I e-mailed to solicit their opinions.
I asked them to weigh in on the matter. Here's what I heard.… Read more
After months of battle, Vonage has lost the bulk of its appeal in the Verizon Communications patent infringement case.
In March, a jury in Virginia found that Vonage had infringed on three patents held by Verizon. And it awarded Verizon $58 million in damages along with future damages of 5.5 percent on the revenue that Vonage was making during the appeal process.
The judge in the case imposed an injunction on Vonage that would force the company to stop delivering a service using technology that infringes on Verizon's patents. But because Vonage has been appealing the case, the … Read more