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Red Hat Prevails Against Patent Troll Acacia 89

walterbyrd writes with news that Red Hat and Novell have won a patent case brought by a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation. The company had "accused Red Hat and Novell of infringing three patents that cover a computer-based graphical user interface that spans multiple workplaces, and lets users access icons remotely, according to court documents. A jury in Marshall, Texas, yesterday sided with Red Hat and Novell's defense that the patents were invalid." Red Hat's Michael Cunningham said, "The jury knocked out three invalid patents that were masquerading as a new and important inventions, when they were not. We appreciate the jury's wisdom and remain committed to providing value to our customers, including through our Open Source Assurance program. We also remain stalwart in resisting bogus shakedown tactics."
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Red Hat Prevails Against Patent Troll Acacia

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  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:24AM (#32055932) Homepage Journal
    i wonder how long until a bunch of them jury will succumb to the 'stealing' and 'intellectual property rights' or 'innovation' baits.
  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:43AM (#32056022)

    If you're too lazy to innovate, you can always use the legal system to steal other people's hard work. God bless IP extortion.

  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @10:57AM (#32056106)

    Better still, how about making 'stifling innovation through frivolous patent suits' a Federal / criminal offense?

    Just what we need, a law to compensate for the failure of the federal employees at the patent office.

    That's exactly my point. It would appear that the patent office does not have the resources to effectively review new patents. Hence private organisations have to resort to the courts. But it's a one-way street - to me seeming like 'being guilty until proved innocent'. Some dick patent troll sues you. You then have to spend considerable time & money proving that they're a dick troll. (See SCO etc.) Time & money that you could and should be instead spending on innovating, creating jobs and better serving your customers.
    Just saying that a bigger barrier to trolling than just legal costs could be a way of deterring frivolous cases.

  • Texas and patents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by esocid ( 946821 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:12AM (#32056190) Journal
    Whoa. Did I just read "Marshall, TX" and "patents were invalid" in the same sentence? Someone should check that the earth's polarity just didn't go through a reversal.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:45AM (#32056434)

    Patents are no property. Just a time-limited monopoly (sometimes even that is bad enough).

    That's what the "IP crowd" want us all to believe: by repeating the meme "IP" they want copyrights, trademarks and patents to be at one level with property rights, to play the same stupid capitalistic games they are accustomed to play with their "assets".

    And if we are not careful and swallow this meme, someday they'll succeed, bit by little bit. Laws, after all, reflect the values and beliefs of society -- laws will follow if we all swallow.

    So: please don't talk about "Intellectual Property". Say "Intellectual Poverty", or whatever.

    Remind your friends: there's no IP.

  • by cetialphav ( 246516 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @12:43PM (#32056872)

    How about changing the law so that punitive damages could be awarded against blatant patent trolls such as Acacia?

    The problem is that it is hard to argue to a court that Acacia deserves punitive damages. The courts start with the assumption that all patents are legitimate. They do not rank patents based on quality. They have all been reviewed by impartial technical experts and been blessed by the USPTO. It is extremely difficult to argue (and win) to a court that the patent office screwed up.

    I think blaming people like Acacia misses the point, because this isn't about punishing people. The real problem is that too many non-innovative things are becoming patented. The problem isn't the patent trolls; the problem is the patent system. The trolls only exist because the system is broken. Punishing trolls does nothing to fix the underlying system.

  • by calmofthestorm ( 1344385 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @02:03PM (#32057562)

    The problem is that it used to be that an "invention" was largely self describing. The other day, I noticed a vice grip attached to the back of a pickup truck of some maintenance workers. This is the sort of thing where thinking of it is equivalent to knowing how to build it. This is increasingly less true, but patent law hasn't been keeping up.

    If I sat around all day thinking up bullshit patents I could make a fortune off extortion as a parasitic leech on people who actually contribute to society. Ideas are a dime a dozen, the hard part is building them. Come up with a cool car idea? Great, now build one. Isn't so easy, is it?

    If Apple decides to patent some technology essential to a smart phone (they probably have), and refuses to license it, this creates a monopoly not just on their particular invention, but on all similar inventions. I feel that patent laws were intended to give people monopoly on a particular good, not on all things that might possibly resemble or compete with it.

    Of course, the solution here is cross licensing agreements and defensive patenting, but that only works if you're a huge corporation.

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @07:20PM (#32059738) Journal

    The west is being torn apart by the lack of accountability. The banks, the governments who failed to supervise the banks, the voters who elected the politicians who didn't do anything time and time again. We now have capitalists trying to tear apart European countries to make a quick buck. If a few pirates dare to interrupt shipping we send in war ships and blow their brains out, but if capitalist hold entire economies hostage we think this is good business.

    Acacia is seriously hurting the economy because nobody can afford to do business without deep pockets to protect against them. It means no startup stand a change anymore once a patent troll comes looking and even big companies are constantly at the mercy of the poor saps who didn't manage to get out of jury duty.

    When a flea bites you, you might shrug it off as harmless, but when you are being swarmed by parasites, you got to start killing them and go after their unborn children as well. Or you are going to die.

    Ask yourself, what has been done to stop the banks and other industries from having to be bailed out again? Answer: Absolutely nothing. How many times do you think the US and EU can afford to do this? In Europe first it was Iceland that went belly up, and added a couple of thousand to Dutch and British tax payers. Now it is Greece, with the government there having deceived regulators who didn't check anything because they were not allowed but all the time we were told that the EU was good for us and that it worked so well. And now it is becoming clear that pretty much all of the garlic nations are in deep shit and just waiting to fall over. Oh goodie, we propped them up with countless donations when they joined because it would pay of in the long term. Well this is the long term and they need yet more cash.

    And at no point is anybody going to jail. Or stripped of power and privilege.

    If you don't punish people, you don't correct behavior. The system itself ain't broken, it is designed to be controlled from within, but when you no longer put sanctions on bad behavior and control, then it fails. Think of it as an engine. If I remove the oil, then the engine isn't broken, but it will be soon enough. The design of the engine is solid, you just need to replace the operator and put the previous operator as a warning next to it, on a spike.

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