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Android Patents The Courts Linux

Google Loses Bedrock Suit, All Linux May Infringe 347

Posted by timothy
from the take-one-guess-which-district dept.
blair1q writes "CNet reports that Google has lost the lawsuit brought by Bedrock, for infringing on Patent 5,893,120, 'Methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data,' and has exposed the Linux kernel, in which the infringing code reportedly appears, to liability for patent-license fees. Red Hat also participated in the suit, arguing that the patent was invalid, but the court decided otherwise."
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Google Loses Bedrock Suit, All Linux May Infringe

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  • Not here.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:23PM (#35900764)

    We dont have software patents in the real world.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:24PM (#35900782)

    Apparently the company is owned by an East Texas lawyer, and does not do anything except file patent lawsuits against everybody.

    Patent Litigation Weekly: PubPat and "Patent Troll" Make Strange Bedfellows

    Meanwhile, it's not unusual that a patent-enforcement company recently set up in East Texas would file suit there this week against ten Internet-based and software companies. Nor is it unusual that Texas corporate records show the company is owned by an erstwhile big-firm lawyer, in this case David Garrod, formerly of Goodwin Procter.

    http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_prior_art/2009/06/pubpat-and-patent-troll-make-strange-bedfellows.html

    Here is a sad, 2009 slashdot article about the company.

    Patent Trolls Target Small East Texas Companies

    > Posted by kdawson on Friday July 24 2009, @09:14AM
    > from the patently-absurd dept.
    > An anonymous reader writes "In a sign that patent trolls are getting desperate to keep their cases in East Texas — long known as the friendliest venue for their claims — some have taken to suing tiny, no-name companies that are run by East Texas residents. The hope is that, if at least one defendant is located in East Texas, the judge will keep the entire case there. Nate Neel, a Longview, Texas resident with a small open source software company called CitiWare, was sued by Bedrock Computer Technologies in June despite (he claims) having no customers or other meaningful operations of any kind. In response, Mr. Neel has posted a strongly worded letter to Bedrock's attorneys on his Web site. It will be interesting to see how East Texas judges respond to this abuse of process perpetrated against their own residents."

    http://slashdot.org/index2.pl?fhfilter=bedrock

    BTW: the F/OSS company, CitiWare, is no longer in business. Sued of existence?

    Although I don't trust Florian Mueller any further than I can spit, I think it may be informative to read his blog post on the subject. Florian does provide court records, and good description of the patent in question.

    http://fosspatents.blogspot.com/2011/04/texas-jury-finds-against-google-in.html

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:37PM (#35900910)

      If only Florian didn't spin everything to his own personal vendetta... I might actually read his articles.

      But he ducks and weaves and picks out all the wrong facts to focus on... And gets it entirely wrong.

      As far as the linux kernel goes? They've picked a very specific release train. 2.4.22, which came out in 25-Aug-2003 .

      So, there's really nothing prior to that which offends the patent? Given the generic elevator/tree description of the patent, i find it very hard to believe.

      I also note that they don't call out what code actually offends, so there's no way to track down when it specifically came into being -
      but of course, that's useful when you don't want to call attention to the fact that the code has been in place longer than the patent has been around....

      • by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:41PM (#35901434)

        I'm certain this will get quashed in appeal when a real court hears it. :) (East Texas is really just Western Arkansas, only with more teeth, but the same amount of sister-love......)

      • As far as the linux kernel goes? They've picked a very specific release train. 2.4.22, which came out in 25-Aug-2003 .

        No. RTFA:

        The accused infringement relates to the Linux kernel itself, which is at the core of Google's server farm. The complaint named a long list of allegedly infringing Linux versions, starting with the 2.4.22.x tree all the way to version "2.6.31.x, or versions beyond 2.6.31.x."

        • As far as the linux kernel goes? They've picked a very specific release train. 2.4.22, which came out in 25-Aug-2003 .

          No. RTFA:

          The accused infringement relates to the Linux kernel itself, which is at the core of Google's server farm. The complaint named a long list of allegedly infringing Linux versions, starting with the 2.4.22.x tree all the way to version "2.6.31.x, or versions beyond 2.6.31.x."

          The start kernel is a very specific release because they had no reason to start there. 2.4.x was from a time when there were no new features added to kernels so the code was likely there for 2.4.1 (30 jan 2001) and assuming the 2.4.x series kernel was the first kernel with the feature it would have been added somewhere in the 2.3.x experimental series (May 1999 - May 2000). The fun question is now: did the 2.2.x series kernel infringe?

    • by DurendalMac (736637) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:44PM (#35900990)
      Is it just me, or does this patent describe a hashtable?
      • by suutar (1860506) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:49PM (#35901036)
        it describes a specific implementation of a hashtable (linked list for collision resolution, as opposed to e.g. moving the colliding item into the next bucket) with some extra features (automatic removal of 'expired' items during other operations). I still would not be at all surprised to find prior art.
        • It's not a patent for doing that, it's a patent for a way of doing that.

          I wouldn't be surprised if there's already a patch for it.

        • by starfishsystems (834319) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:16PM (#35902892) Homepage
          I still would not be at all surprised to find prior art.

          I wouldn't either. Hash tables with linked lists are in my undergrad notes from 1977. It's in every curriculum, I'm sure.

          Oh, yes, the patent also involves garbage collection on the fly. That reminds me, Hans Koomen and I did a implementation of Interlisp right around then too. It had that. I forget where we picked up the algorithm, it was so long ago, but I remember thinking how great it was that the principles had already been developed by the time we needed them.

          Those were the days when people were still using rotary-dial telephones, mind you. The patent in question was granted on April 6, 1999.

          To summarize: according to the claim, this patent combines two known techniques in what I would regard as an obvious manner. The patent only covers garbage collection on a particular type of data object. Back in the seventies the existing art was already sufficient for managing all data objects.
      • by Intron (870560) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:49PM (#35901038)

        It's just you. The patent is on garbage collecting a hashtable/linked list combination while it is in use.

        • by 0123456 (636235) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:53PM (#35901058)

          It's just you. The patent is on garbage collecting a hashtable/linked list combination while it is in use.

          That sounds so immensely innovative that I'm not at all surprised that a patent was granted for it.

          • The patent was filed in 1997, but databases have used chained linked lists, overflow buckets, and hash tables for long before that to locate (and obviously delete items that were no longer valid) records.

            Ref: Database Systems Concepts, Korth, Henry F., and Silberschatz, Abraham, University of Texas At Austin (McGraw-Hill) 1991.

            The above book describes such methods as were already current at least a decade prior to publication.

            And if you consider directory indexes to the multiple parts of a file as an external chained linked list, disk compression and disk caching software was doing the same thing since at least 4 years before the first filing date.

        • by presidenteloco (659168) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:15PM (#35901256)

          You know what this technology would be well suited to? Garbage collecting software patents from USPTO.

          I mean I'm sorry USPTO. You do not have the right to tell me I'm not allowed to think up an (THE) obvious
          solution to an obvious and easily specifiable algorithmic or data structure issue.

          This is basic second year computer science undergrad basics, at best.

          This is complete crap.

          If I were Google UI would vest all my software technology rights in a small branch company in Barbados and be done with it.

      • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:04PM (#35901616) Homepage Journal

        does this patent describe a hashtable?

        No. It looks like it describes something utterly obvious done to a hash table, though.

        Let's say you have a hash table, where you resolve hash collisions by having a linked list of everything that shares that hash value. Whenever you traverse that linked list, whether you're adding another entry, or searching for one of the items on that list, or whatever, since you have to traverse the list anyway, you could examine each entry on the list and possibly throw it away if it's something that you think you'll never use. Like, say, if it's an expired cache entry.

        If I'm reading this patent right, that idea patented.

        Seriously. And that's outrageous. If stuff this obvious is patentable, then programmers simply have no chance at all. You would have to hire a lawyer to work a week for every hour that a programmer works. It's just bloody fucking insane.

        • by DurendalMac (736637) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:10PM (#35902356)
          Java has been using chained linked lists in hashtables since 1.2. Adding garbage collection to it isn't exactly difficult or innovative. I'll wager someone did that long before these guys patented it. Maybe not in a standard library, but it's virtually guaranteed that something like this was implemented in software prior to their filing.

          This is why the patent system needs, at the very least, a massive overhaul and an abolition on software patents.
  • Appeals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:34PM (#35900878) Journal

    This one has *got* to find itself appealed, and that appeal will happen well outside of East Texas.

    I for one do not see folks like IBM, RH, Intel, Oracle, or other huge companies simply forking over either, even if the "licensing fee" was something ridiculously low. IT would be the camel's nose in the tent, and they know it.

  • Gotta love em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vladbo (2038928) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:38PM (#35900924)
    The good ol' software patent, a method and apparatus for extortion and not much else.
  • by whovian (107062) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:43PM (#35900966)

    It wouldn't surprise me if TPTB squash Bedrock like a bug.
     

  • by tgatliff (311583) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:44PM (#35900994)

    Look on the bright side... Hopefully this will finally get the big companies to realize the current absurdity in the patent system, and push their paid for politicians to reform the system. Their practice of building a war chests of patents does little when you have a someone like this who (like wall street and finance in general) builds nothing and has no productive business function.

    • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:35PM (#35901384) Homepage Journal

      On the flip-side, it might encourage big companies to believe that software patents = easy money for no work. They're already doing less than they need to be, the last thing we want is for their shareholders to insist they can make the same profits by doing less.

      • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @09:30PM (#35902518) Homepage

        Big Software is all on the receiving end of this, and all the big players are starting realize that they're shooting themselves in the foot with how broad software patents have become (except maybe Oracle, they seem to be playing their own game. Maybe they think that since they dominate their chosen area they're safer). I believe MS was just in court recently with a similar problem. The mutually assured destruction patent portfolios that everyone built up to protect themselves against each other are useless against the trolls, because the trolls never develop anything to infringe. They just sue other people.

        It'll probably still take a few years for the momentum to be redirected and the ship to be turned around, but I think in the next 5-10 year you'll see MS and the other big software players changing their tune on this. Apple and Google never liked the game much to begin with (though they both willing play for the moment), and I don't think it'll take too many more trolls winning cases to convince MS and IBM.

  • Groklaw... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aapold (753705) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:45PM (#35901000) Homepage Journal
    Cancel that retirement party
  • by drb226 (1938360) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:45PM (#35901002)

    methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data.

    information storage and retrieval - nothing new here.
    using a hashing technique - nothing new here
    with external chaining - using what?
    and on-the-fly removal of expired data - "on-the-fly" is a nice buzzword, but this is also nothing new.

    So apparently we can just mix and match random old techniques, and call it innovation and get it patented?

    • Re:Um, wtf? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:02PM (#35901134)

      Yep that's exactly what happens when you allow patents on raw ideas rather than specific and detailed implementations. No software patent should be valid without the source code detailing the implementation where simply changing code to work differently completely avoids the patent. Of course if that was the case nearly every software patent would be gone with the exception of things like the RSA patents where changing the code would make it no longer work.

      The problem with the patent office is that when they started allowing companies to patent raw ideas in the form of software and business method patents suddenly you could get a patent for an idea with no implementation, make it as vague as possible and then sue everyone. And that's exactly what's been happening and getting more and more common. It's the reason the courts are being overwhelmed with patent suits and it's also the reason the patent office is being swarmed with patent applications. Reinforce the old rule that requires that the patent detail a specific implementation (and in the case of a software patent that means the source code is part of the patent) and much of the problems with the patent system will go away. The side benefit is all but the most important and innovative software inventions are no longer patentable and business method patents go away entirely.

      Ah but we can hope the upcoming patent cases before the Supreme reach exactly this conclusion and reverse the nastiness the court created when they essentially allowed business method patents by invalidating previous tests. The only valid patent system is one that deals in specific implementations.

      • by Svartalf (2997) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:37PM (#35903024) Homepage

        The patent has "source code" accompanied with it. Unfortunately, it's just psuedocode. Source code doesn't get you there- all that happens to be is another language expressing the SAME THING as the patent claims. Both of which, more often than not, express merely a mathematical expression, otherwise known as an Algorithm. In short, there's VERY LITTLE that should be deemed patentable in the space. LZW might've been patentable...if it was on a specific system as part thereof. Not as it was patented, though. This patent's even LESS than LZW's was.

    • Re:Um, wtf? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dachannien (617929) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:14PM (#35901240)

      Well, actually, you have to look at the claims. In this case, however, I'm a bit surprised that nobody could come up with invalidating art. See the Google Patents entry (since Patentstorm sucks ass) and scroll down to read the claims.

      http://www.google.com/patents?id=X4QXAAAAEBAJ [google.com]

      • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:39PM (#35902048)

        A big part of the problem is that there was a huge ton of actual prior art all through the 1970s, 80s and 90s which no one was thinking about for patent purposes at the time and which isn't easily searchable. You have people who can perfectly well remember doing X thing 25 years ago, but almost all the equipment and software from that era is sitting in junk yards or on floppy disks that have long been unreadable due to age, and hardly anybody used to file patents or disclosures for that stuff so the patent office doesn't have any record of it.

        So then you get a bunch of people who filed for patents between 1995 and 2000 on things that computer scientists have been doing since 1962 (or which consist of "X thing everybody perfectly well knows about, but on the internet") and which everybody now infringes because they were "infringing" in 1999 when the patent was filed and in 1973 when the attorney who filed the patent was born.

    • Re:Um, wtf? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortexNO@S ... t-retrograde.com> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:55PM (#35901536) Homepage

      methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data.

      information storage and retrieval - nothing new here. using a hashing technique - nothing new here with external chaining - using what?

      Using a linked list that the hash bucket points to -- hence, external chaining... Yep, nothing new here, standard hash table practice, as opposed to moving the collision to a different unoccupied bucket.

      and on-the-fly removal of expired data - "on-the-fly" is a nice buzzword, but this is also nothing new.

      I built a connection to player# firewall/database for a simple game server in 1996 (patent filed in 1997). I used a single hash table to store valid open connections and blocked connections. The packed IP address was used as the key (hashed), and an external linked list per hash bucket was used to resolve collisions. If more than one connection mapped to a bucket, it was added to the bucket's external linked list. Each connection (linked list item) had an IP address, port#, validity flag, and time-stamp; The later I used to automatically remove expired connections -- as I traversed the hash table. HOW IS THIS NOT BLOODY OBVIOUS to a professional skilled in the art of hash tables and faced with the problem of expiring bucket entries?! The patent is invalid.

      The patent is clearly in violation of my prior art, and doubtlessly many thousands of other's. Fortunately, my source code for that BS game is closed -- no patent troll can figure out the method I'm using and sue me..... The patent (troll) system makes it more beneficial for me to hide innovation -- The opposite of it's intended goal. Linux source code is open, ergo, a broad target for trolls.

      So apparently we can just mix and match random old techniques, and call it innovation and get it patented?

      Yep. Apparently that's what they did. If someone else hasn't already patented it, you'll get a patent for it, no matter how obvious. The obviousness clause is not actually applied to patents. The patent database is searched for prior art, and applications granted if none is found.

      What I find interesting is the "Method AND Apparatus" terms that all these software patents must use in order to link them to hardware and thus make them patentable -- Without the apparatus, they are not patentable.

      A patent is public information, the detailed description is required to be published, no doubt in a textual form.

      An "infringing" bit of open source software source code is simply a detailed description of a patent. Ergo, source code must not actually be infringing since it is not an apparatus, it is simply performing the same exact task that a patent claim performs -- describing the patented method in detail.

      If a translation from the patent claim text to source code text is not an infringement, then a binary representation of such text must also not be an infringement -- A PDF displaying example source code that allegedly infringes a patent dose not itself infringe the patent -- It's just a document / file...

      Compiling source code is merely translating it into another binary representation, just like translating a patent claim into example source code is not an infringement, and the PDF translation is not an infringement, a binary executable translation is not an infringement either!

      Only when you add the apparatus to the method by running the software should the patent be enforcible. Prior to running the executable code the software is purely a description of the method employed.

      A patent suit must not be able force the source code of a "patent infringing" open source project to be taken down -- Otherwise, we must also remove from public view ALL PUBLIC PATENT information.

      Distribution of a PDF that descri

  • by MECC (8478) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:46PM (#35901004)
    Which portion of the linux kernal supposedly infringes? Does prior ary mean anything here?
  • by gweihir (88907) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:47PM (#35901014)

    Combining a chained hash table with a priority queue was obvious 40 years ago. How can something like this be patented? It seems it is time for severe penalties for trying to patent obvious things. Like a few years in prison. These people do way more damage than terrorists ever did.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:49PM (#35901032) Journal
    Like if it refuses to index sites in East Texas would the other businesses there sit up and clean up the mess there?
  • Patent translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjames (1099) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:53PM (#35901062) Homepage

    For a layman's analogy, when rummaging through the fridge for something, they have patented noticing that the mayo is past it's expiration and so throwing it out while you're there. That is all.

    Not only is it blindingly obvious to nearly anyone in the field, it's so blindingly obvious that a beginning student is fairly likely to think of it.

  • Patently obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tricorn (199664) <sep@shout.net> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:57PM (#35901090) Journal
    I won't comment on the validity, it seems pretty obvious to combine techniques for accessing/modifying a hashed/linked list with combing a list for items to delete, but there's a trivial work-around for it. Don't delete items as you comb through them, simply mark them as invalid and put them on a list of records to be recovered. Periodically, or when running low on storage, delete items on the to-be-deleted list. Might even be faster when multi-threaded if the invalidate can be done with a lightweight synchronization rather than locking the record(s) out while recycling them; can even keep a private list of invalidated records, then add that to a global list to be recycled. Claims 2, 4, 6, 8 are ridiculous on the face of it, though - using dynamic limits for ANYTHING is not novel unless you can show a significant problem that hasn't been solved before. Simply specifying a dynamic value that a routine uses to count the number of iterations of a process, length of time to spend doing something, number of things to do in a pass, etc, is 40 years old at least.
    • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:37PM (#35901398) Homepage Journal

      Mixing hashes and linked lists is basically an indexed sequential database. Not revolutionary stuff.

      • by tricorn (199664) <sep@shout.net> on Friday April 22, 2011 @11:17PM (#35912412) Journal

        They aren't patenting mixing hashes and linked lists. They have several references to using such data structures (including Knuth).

        The "innovation" is to delete expired records while accessing the records, either adding new records or searching for existing ones, plus the additional "innovation" of dynamically configuring the maximum number of records to delete on each access request.

        In other words, you look up the hash, go to the first record in a linked list. You check to see if it's expired, if so you delete it from the linked list, recycling the storage. You then move on to the next record. If it isn't expired, you check to see if it's the one you want. If not, rinse and repeat. Once you've deleted a configured number of records, you stop trying to delete them and just search for the one you want.

        Of course, just doing this doesn't remove the need to sweep the entire database for expired records; they could be sitting in hash chains that you haven't accessed, so the storage space hasn't been recycled. Doing it this way may also incur additional overhead from needing to lock the database as you delete records (hence my suggestion to mark it as invalid using a lightweight sync, but allow anything currently using the record to continue on - sort of like RCU does).

        A better way to invalidate the patent might be to attack it on utility - since it purports to be useful for large databases that have to be online at all times (as if the only way to expire records is to take everything down for a maintenance period), it seems pretty worthless since it doesn't show how to handle read and write locks, which any dynamic database would seem to need in some fashion (for instance, some process is in the middle of using the record that you're trying to delete - do you block (thus delaying the current query) until the other process has finished with the record?).

    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:41PM (#35901420) Journal
      Then they will patent this too. I am sure, right now an East Texas is lawyer is cutting and pasting your posting into a patent application, as I type this.
  • by cs668 (89484) <cservin@cromagnon.com> on Thursday April 21, 2011 @06:57PM (#35901092)

    It's not that novel. I'm pretty sure that in in the 20 years that I have been doing software I have done this same thing 3 times at 3 different companies that all pre-date the patent application. It's just the obvious solution for some types of problems. It's to bad that most of us just solve problems and work, because if any one of us had written a little magazine article about this there would be obvious prior art!!

    • by sabt-pestnu (967671) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:15PM (#35901250)

      The patent application is dated 1997. If your work predates that, and you can still find it, you might want to talk to Google. Prior art, if the product was used and the code available.

  • by king_grumpy (1685560) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:01PM (#35901124)
    Time to file my patent for "an array for storing values populated by user input" .
    • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:14PM (#35901238) Journal

      If you can make one that automatically garbage-collects itself while ensuring that the types inserted are correct and array bounds are extended whenever space warrants, then you might have something. (although I'm pretty sure I did that predictive bounds extension thing in about 1987 so watch your step).

    • by md65536 (670240) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:31PM (#35901362)

      Your patent would infringe on my patent for "methods of storing and retrieving information encoded using one or more symbols and arranged in a sequential order, as well as methods for enabling the access of that information out of order."

      Don't even think about filing your patent, because I also have a patent for "1) methods and apparatus for generating potential courses of action based on evaluation of potential conceptual possibilities, 2) methods and algorithms for evaluating said conceptual possibilities, and 3) apparatus for creating said conceptual possibilities".

  • by 00_NOP (559413) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:03PM (#35901142) Homepage
    Guess you are going to have to move to Europe.
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:06PM (#35901174)

    This could be a great software patent showdown. I'm always hoping. I want to see federal circuit court address the software patent issue squarely. The earlier poster was right about Groklaw.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:20PM (#35901282)

    Google should just buy Hanna-Barbara and get the rights to Bedrock (and Fred and Wilma and Barney etc. The would also have the patents for Fire, the Wheel and using Dinosaurs as tools...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 21, 2011 @07:41PM (#35901424)

    The UniVerse database as well as Prime Information were using this type of structure since the late 1980s. UniVerse has a "Dynamic" file that uses hashing to store data with an extended structure to store data that does not fit in the primary block.

    Furthermore, when additional space is required, a block restructure is performed, (the database compresses the blocks before requesting additional space i.e. garbage collect).

  • by willoughby (1367773) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @08:41PM (#35902066)

    Now I'll have to search for pirated copies of Linux distro's.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday April 21, 2011 @10:51PM (#35903070)

    Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote a great article about it:

    Idiotic Anti-Linux & Google Patent Decision

    Red Hat has sued Bedrock to get the patent revoked for numerous reasons. Among others, they point out that Linux, which dates to 1991, predates the 1997 patent; that no one has ever used the patent; and that in any case Bedrock has no claims to the patent

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/idiotic-anti-linux-google-patent-decision/8736

    And PJ commented on Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols article:

    "If I might remind you, Mike Anderer told us years ago, back in 2004, that this was Microsoft's plan, to see to it that FOSS companies got sued over and over again for patent infringement, until they gave out: "In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect Microsoft may have 50 or more of these lawsuits in the queue. All of them are not asking for hundreds of millions, but most would be large enough to ruin anything but the largest companies. Red Hat did recently raise several hundred million which certainly gives them more staying power. Ultimately, I do not think any company except a few of the largest companies can offer any reasonable insulation to their customers from these types of judgments. You would need a market cap of more than a couple billion to just survive in the OS space." So that's what he said. And 50 or more lawsuits lined up means using proxies, obviously. Remember Microsoft trying to sell some of its patents that read on Linux, or so they claimed, to patent trolls? OIN played man in the middle on that one, but who is to say that was the only one? That's why it's an antitrust issue, I'd say, using patents like this as an anticompetitive weapon. And if you want to know what is wrong with software patents, the damage they are doing, read the quotations from various business executives (like Andy Grove) in the footnotes to this article.]"

    http://groklaw.net/

    BTW: the F/OSS company, CitiWare, mentioned in the first slashdot article about Bedrock, is apparently out of business. I wonder if they were sued out of business?

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