Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Red Hat & Novell III
October 18, 2007 2 Comments
The nation’s first Linux patent suit currently facing Red Hat and Novell isn’t about open source at all. Or so the plaintiff says.
IP Innovation last week filed the patent lawsuit against Linux in Texas, alleging that both Red Hat and Novell infringe on U.S. Patent No. 5,072,412, “User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects.”
Neither IP Innovation nor its parent company Acacia Research responded to request for comment at the time the patent suit first came to light. But today, in a statement sent to InternetNews.com, Acacia Chairman and CEO Paul Ryan defended the firm’s actions and argued that there is no conspiracy against open source coming from his firm.
“IP Innovation is not attempting to inject itself in the ongoing philosophical debate of whether products or services which utilize open source are subject to the same intellectual property laws/behaviors as non-open source offerings,” Ryan said in the statement. “Acacia and its subsidiaries do not philosophically differentiate any company, but rather seek to consistently and fairly monetize patent rights from those companies which incorporate patented technology.”
The company also dismissed allegations that Microsoft somehow is using Acacia as a kind of proxy to fight a patent battle against Linux. A pair of key Acacia employees recently joined the patent-holding firm from Microsoft.
Additionally, Groklaw notes that the patent involved is scheduled to expire on December 10, 2008. That could explain why Microsoft, who could easily afford to ensure that the case lasts longer than that, has not been made a target. It’s strangely reassuring to see that this probably doesn’t have anything to do with Open Source. That’s a sad indication of the state of the current situation.