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Linux Business Open Source Patents Red Hat Software The Courts Linux

Red Hat Fights Patent Troll With GPL 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the mightier-than-the-sword dept.
jfruh writes "Red Hat is in the middle of a patent lawsuit with Twin Peaks Software, which claims that a Red Hat subsidiary is abusing a Twin Peaks filesystem lawsuit. Now, Red Hat is launching an intriguing countermeasure: the company claims that Twin Peaks' own closed source software violates the GPL because it makes use of an open source disk utility that Red Hat holds the copyright on. Is this a smart move on Red Hat's part?"
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Red Hat Fights Patent Troll With GPL

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  • Doesn't matter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:17PM (#41338615)

    This is brilliant! Just accuse them of a GPL violation and they'll be forced to prove their source code is different by revealing it.

    It's a wonder nobody has done this before.

  • Prior Art? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by conspirator23 (207097) on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:17PM (#41338625)
    If the Twin Peaks patent is on GPL-violating code, then that would seem to me (IANAL) to be a clear and direct example of prior art. You'd have a case of an entity stealing work, then patenting it, and then attacking the people they stole from. That could be an incredibly embarassing thing for Twin Peaks. OTOH, if the GPL infringement is on unrelated code, then I would imagine that there could be seperate verdicts that each could be found guilty on. The question there would be: Are the damages comparable enough to force a settlement?
  • Re:Free publicity! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sjames (1099) on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:27PM (#41338733) Homepage

    Not necessarily. It is likely that Twin Peaks kept it under their hat until Red Hat's deeper pockets were firmly committed.

  • by Galestar (1473827) on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:37PM (#41338845)

    Nearly all Android users do not care about the Linux kernel being open.

    Its not about the user caring, its about the handset manufacturers caring.

  • Re:Doesn't matter (Score:3, Interesting)

    by draconx (1643235) on Friday September 14, 2012 @05:36PM (#41340367) Homepage

    Even if the code was considered infringing, it would only need to be
    revealed to those customers that asked for it before three years (since the
    ruling in this case?) have passed.

    IANAL, but I don't understand where this comes from. TFA says that code
    in question is licensed under the GPL, version 2. According to section 3
    of the license, distributing binaries requires you to do either:

        (a) "Accompany [the binary] with the ... source code ...."
    or
        (b) "Accompany [the binary] with a written offer, valid for at least three
                years, to give *any third party*, for a charge no more than your cost
                of physically performing source distribution ... the corresponding
                source code ..." [emphasis mine]

    (there is an option (c), but it is unlikely to apply in this case).

    Note that if you choose option (b), then you must distribute source to anyone
    who asks. Moreover, Red Hat alleges that Twin Peaks Software has done neither
    of these things. If Red Hat is correct, then Twin Peaks Software has no
    right to distribute any binaries at all, until they have their license
    reinstated by Red Hat.

Murphy's Law, that brash proletarian restatement of Godel's Theorem. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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