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10.26.07

The Latest Patent News: USPTO Reform Attacked, Sun Attacks, Vonage Settles

Posted in Courtroom, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents, SCO, SUN at 5:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It does not seem like a patent reform will come without a fight. Which fight? The fight against a reform. There is more than one side here and there are those whose interests align with the approval of poor patents. As sad as that may sound, they continue to lobby against a planned reform, which would be only a first and minor step.

More than 430 organizations spanning all fifty US states have fired off a letter urging Senate leaders to oppose a bill that would overhaul the country’s patent system. And that includes tech outfits like Qualcomm and AmberWave.

Earlier today we mentioned the Sun-ZFS-NetApp case. It’s considered somewhat of a test of open source versus software patents in many people’s eyes. It also predates by weeks Acacia’s (Microsoft's?) case against Linux.

Sun’s defensive patent lawsuit is finally launched. It comes shortly after NetApp’s founder expressed no fear.

A month ago, Network Appliance sued Sun Microsystems, alleging the server and software company’s ZFS file system infringes seven NetApp patents. Sun on Thursday fired back with a suit that claims NetApp violates 12 of Sun’s.

Sun’s suit also argues that NetApp’s patents are invalid and that it doesn’t infringe them anyway.

“This can be used against the GPL and pressure Linux vendors to accept patent ‘protection’ deals.”Sun’s case will be an interesting one to watch. Groklaw points out that Microsoft is at the moment a defendant in more than 45 patent infringement cases, but it rarely responds like Sun has. It is believed that Microsoft will continue to complain about ‘those nasty trolls’ and use some external ties like SCO or maybe even Acacia to attack Linux while using constant FUD (as opposed to real action) against Linux. It will also embed patent poison in its many licences. This can be used against the GPL and pressure Linux vendors to accept patent ‘protection’ deals.

Also in the news: Vonage settles Verizon’s patent suit

The lawsuit, along with two filed by other phone companies, had cast a heavy shadow over Vonage’s future. The company’s service enables subscribers to connect their phones to their broadband connections for about $25 a month using a Vonage adapter.

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