It’s about the timing, the money trail, and the staffing
“The next SCO” is a title attributed and grated to various companies (by ourselves and others). First it was Novell back in 2006 and then it was Microsoft in May 2007. Some people are now claiming that Acacia is another proxy that absorbs the bad PR which accompanies legal actions on behalf on a larger company. Acacia, unlike SCO, would not be suing its own customers (because it hasn’t any). As mentioned some months ago, this firm, which signed a deal with Novell is just a patent portfolio with investors whose portfolio is tied to junk patents and trolling, apparently.
I’ve just returned from a vacation, so I’m still catching up with old press and I have missing pieces that need researching. Here are some bits that tell you about possible ties between Microsoft and Acacia. Microsoft, unsurprisingly, denies all of this.
From Sam Hiser:
PJ & Company astutely make the connection that behind “IP Innovation LLC” is a group called Acacia which is staffed by senior Microsoft agents, including Jonathan Taub, a Microsoft Hero & Key Achiever.
Pamela Jones of Groklaw detects the fine hand of Microsoft at work here. Two former Microsoft executives, Jonathan Taub and Brad Brunell, joined Acacia in the last several months.
Matt Asay connects some dots.
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;
* Novell changes all of its IP indemnification the same day (which it has named “Technology Assurance Program” as contrasted with Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance Program Novell apparently isn’t
interested in assuring open source, just technology ;
* Novell’s new program notes a change in the Microsoft/Novell deal that covers GPLv3 code distributed by Novell for downstream recipients.
Then, it quotes other research that Illinois-based IP Innovation is a subsidiary of California-based Acacia Technologies Group, which, in July, announced that Jonathan Traub, former Microsoft Director of Strategic Alliances for Mobile and Embedded Devices, was joining the company as a vice president.
Earlier this month, Acacia said that Brad Brunell was coming aboard as senior vice preisdent. Brunell is the former manager of intellectual property licensing at Microsoft. In fairness, Groklaw did note that Acacia, which is in the business of licensing and lawsuits, also has sued Microsoft.
We can probably judge for ourselves, but let’s keep an eye for more evidence and see how everything develops. The shifts in staff are reminiscent of the XenSource hijack (former Microsoft employees inherited prominent roles just before the acquisition, making it akin to a puppet state tactic).