EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.21.09

Novell, Red Hat, and Software Patents: Strike II

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pinoccio
Searching for truth regarding Red Hat and software patents

Summary: Novell’s long tradition of software patenting lives on, but what about Red Hat?

WE already know very well about Novell and its attitude towards software patents. It keeps acquiring them and according to the Salt Lake Tribune it has just gotten some more.

Method and system for dynamic assignment of entitlements, patent No. 7,505,972, invented by Jay Wootton of Lindon, Dennis Foster of Spanish Fork, Joe Skehan of Sandy, Charles Morgan of Springville, Jason Elsberry of Provo, Ryan L. Cox of Provo, William Street of Orem, Stephen R. Carter of Spanish Fork, and Nick Nikols of Draper, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

System and method for filtering of web-based content stored on a proxy cache server, patent No. 7,506,055, invented by Carolyn B. McClain of Springville, and Jim E. Thatcher of Pleasant Grove, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

What we are a little disappointed to see is that Red Hat is not serious about or at least not committed to fighting software patents, so the latest Red Hat kerkuffle is not quite over yet. Red Hat did participate in making the Bilski ruling happen, but the FFII is suggesting that there is conflicting evidence nonetheless (more on that soon).

Pieter Hintjens, the former head of the FFII, has pointed out that the first patent problem was not exactly an isolated incident when he pointed at Slashdot’s direction. It made the front page and Digital Majority covered this too. To summarise:

US Patent 7453593 claims command-line processing by a web server of SOAP requests, resulting in XML responses, from and to a remote client. The HTTP Common Gateway Interface (CGI) operates precisely as described in Claim 1. If you POST a SOAP document and return an XHTML response or a SOAP document, this infringes on Claim 2, since both XHTML and SOAP are XML languages. This patent thus claims to own the processing of SOAP documents by CGI programs.

Some guys from the FFII were preparing some questions for Rob Tiller. He joined Red Hat about a year ago. To quote JupiterMedia: “Red Hat today announced that it had hired Rob Tiller as vice president and assistant general counsel, and Richard Fontana, as open source licensing and patent counsel.”

Pieter attaches some questions (from the above):

I have some questions for Red Hat. Dear Red Hat,

* Why are you filing patents on obvious ideas with ample prior art?

* Will you promise not to sue my clients if they embed my AMQP/XML routing engine in their closed-source applications?

* What if IBM buys Red Hat, as they are buying Sun. Does Red Hat’s patent promise still apply?

* Can you confirm or deny suggestions that the Red Hat patent promise lets Red Hat license it patents to a third party, which can then sue FOSS implementors freely?

* Does Red Hat file patents on business methods (as well as on software algorithms)? If so, does your Promise cover the use of these patents by other FOSS distribution businesses?

Later on, Pieter asked:

Here are my questions to Red Hat’s lawyers:

1. Why are you filing patents on obvious ideas with prior art, like SOAP?

2. If my clients embed my free AMQP/XML engine in their closed apps, are they covered by your Promise?

3. If IBM buys Red Hat, does your Promise still hold?

4. If a 3rd party licenses a patent from you, and then sues my FOSS company, does your Promise still hold?

5. Does Red Hat file business method patents on their software distribution business?

6. If “Yes”, does your Promise protect my FOSS distribution business which uses these patents?

7. Would opposition to a Red Hat patent filing at the USPTO or EPO count as “litigation” under the Promise?

Until the use of Red Hat’s patents against competing FOSS firms and their clients is 100% clear and permanent, then I hold that Red Hat’s patent portfolio is first and foremost aimed at FOSS competitors, and only second at “trolls” and closed source firms.

In other patents news, the so-called 'reform' continues to show its wrinkles.

If Silicon Valley wants help in dealing with the so-called patent troll problem you do not need to limit damages, you just need to fix the problem.

Nothing there addresses the issue of self-defending monopolies which fend off competition. Moreover, this remains a system that punishes those who expose the truth and rewards/bribes those who propagate the great lies about ‘innovation’ and the “small inventor”. Another Internet giant, The Go Daddy Group, has just obtained patents on Web hosting/registration.

Go Daddy gets three new patents, bringing total to five.

The Go Daddy Group, Inc, parent company of domain registrar GoDaddy, has been awarded three new patents this month. Based on a search of “Go Daddy” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Go Daddy now has five patents. Its previously issued patents include one for private domain registration (whois privacy) and a server based spam filter.

Who does this system actually serve? It merely protects those who are wealthy enough to be able to afford patents. When it comes to software that respects people’s freedom, it even illegalises it. This helps not at all when O’Reilly publishes a book with the vague/broad title “Intellectual Property and Open Source”; there is now an excerpt from it online. If it’s patents, then call it “patents” and if it’s about copyrights, then be it “copyrights”. To say “intellectual property” is like calling Switzerland “Europe” and arguing that Europe is a land of mountains (never mind if Belgium and Holland hardly have any).

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

6 Comments

  1. JohnD said,

    March 22, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Gravatar

    Acquiring a patent isn’t the same as using against someone. I’m guessing Novell has dozens if not hundreds of patents – how many times have they sued FOSS for patent infringement.
    If Novell has the patent, it means M$ doesn’t – which is good in my opinion. Hopefully the goal of the acquisitions is donation to OIN.
    Only time will tell.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 22, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Gravatar

    If IBM or Microsoft bought Novell along with its patents, then what good would Novell’s promises and obligations be? UNIX counts too.

  3. JohnD said,

    March 22, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Gravatar

    I see your point, but how realistic are either of those situations?
    M$ has already been nailed as a monopoly, I doubt antitrust regulators would allow them to buy a major firm like Novell especially given it’s presence in the server rooms and on desktops. One of the popular theories is that M$ is propping up Novell in an effort to avoid antitrust issues – buying the company would defeat that purpose.
    People are already questioning if IBM/SUN could past antitrust muster and that’s just on the server hardware/Unix end of things.
    One would hope that any donations to OIN are permanent so if Novell does donate it’s a done deal.
    I still think one of the best moves Novell could make is to just buyout SCO then they could donate Unix IP to FOSS and begin a merge of Unix and Linux. You’d be looking at more serious market share if that happens.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 22, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Gravatar

    It would not be of much use. Besides, not only Microsoft is a potential acquirer.

  5. Jose_X said,

    March 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m assuming a patent could be encumbered for all time by its owner, right (like giving the public certain rights)? An example might be that patent X can be used only for Y purpose and all other rights are given up (to the public). I understand why people would hesitate to make that decision today without knowledge of future threats or risking wording the encumbrance incorrectly. It might make more sense to donate it to a not-for-profit group that would have to work within predefined but more flexible boundaries.

  6. JohnD said,

    March 23, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Gravatar

    I would think that the owner has the ability to change the public’s rights to the patent at anytime – a perk of ownership. Kind of like owning a car. I could restrict it’s use for certain tasks and leave the rest up to the end users, but at the end of the day my name is on the title so I have the final say.
    It is my hope that Novell will donate what patents it can to OIN especially since I doubt the patent system will be fixed anytime soon. I think the only near term fix will be for the public to decide what kind of software is best for them. Hopefully the migration away from Windows will continue.

What Else is New


  1. Links 25/6/2019: Raspberry Pi 4, Ubuntu's Change of Mind, Wayland’s Weston 6.0.1

    Links for the day



  2. Patent Extremism: Stacking the Panels, the Surveys, the Hearings, the Debates

    Projection tactics would have the public believe that those who oppose corruption are simply radicals; patent polarity has come to the point where if one isn't a "true believer" in blackmail (patent trolls) or opposes bribery, then one is simply a "fringe" and akin to terrorists



  3. Links 24/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC6, Skrooge 2.20.0, ZFS vs. OpenZFS

    Links for the day



  4. The EPO Needs a President Who Obeys the Law, Not One Who Obeys Battistelli

    Succession based on nepotism at Europe's second-largest institution served to shown how inherently broken things had become and why cover-up of injustices is nowadays paramount (not fixing the flaws/ills but merely perpetuating them)



  5. With Water (Treatment) Already Patented It Won't Take Long for Patents (and Patent Royalties) on Air

    A 'paper economy' is what Europe turns into if the current trajectory is followed (led by lawyers, not producers)



  6. Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed 'Microsoft Haters'?

    Microsoft, which routinely commits very serious crimes, tries to come across as some sort of philanthropy whereas those who share their work with the public (for greater good) are described as erratic, rude and unworthy of respect from corporations (outcasts basically, deprived of income source)



  7. What Patents the EPO Has Just Awarded (With a Special Reward), Not Just Granted

    The EPO's practice of elevating some patents over the other patents (European Patents) is perhaps more of a societal liability than the EPO cares to realise



  8. Required Reading: Mental State of Team Battistelli/Campinos

    On the heels of yesterday's article about Team Battistelli/Campinos, here are some recommended/required papers on the problem which likely plagues the Office



  9. Links 23/6/2019: Wine 4.11, FreeBSD 11.3 RC2

    Links for the day



  10. Microsoft Apparently Did a Patrick Durusau on Wim Coekaerts to Broaden Its Control Over GNU/Linux

    Microsoft tactics for defection and takeover of the competition (without coming across as hostile) aren't new tactics; internal documents from Microsoft explain how to achieve this



  11. EPO Directors Would be Wise to Rebel Against Team Campinos While They Still Have the Job

    As the EPO continues its bold journey towards dictatorship (where presidencies are passed between friends and ‘circles’ are former colleagues or close confidants) Techrights urges those who have power to speak out — e.g. EPO judges and Directors — to do something before it’s too late



  12. American Front Group Open Invention Network (Riding the Linux Brand) is a Proponent of Software Patents in Europe

    The impact of American multinationals in Europe is difficult to deny; in fact, we're observing the same old lobbying/lobbies still working hard albeit more covertly (typically using front groups)



  13. Say 'Hey Hi' to Software Patents

    Using the “AI” (“HEY HI”) hype the ‘community’ of patent maximalists hopes that every little (and possibly very old) algorithm will suddenly sound amazing and innovative — to the point where it becomes unthinkable to deny a patent monopoly on it



  14. A Personal Note From Ted MacReilly (How Microsoft Works Against GNU/Linux)

    A tongue-in-cheek write-up highlighting the ways Microsoft insiders think and how they strategise against GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  15. The Linux Foundation's New Vice Chair, Wim Coekaerts, Worked for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation is boosting the Microsoft boosters and calls that "community"



  16. Links 21/6/2019: GNOME 3.33.3, 32-Bit Support Further Neglected, DragonFlyBSD 5.6.1 Released

    Links for the day



  17. Leaked: Harassment of EPO Directors by Team Campinos

    “New BIT organisation and staff changes,” a novel kind of newspeak, means that Directors are being severely punished without due process at all (“hidden disciplinary measure without disciplinary proceedings”)



  18. Patent Professionals in Europe Have Devolved Into a Marketing Industry

    Lies, buzzwords and hype waves is all that the patent bubble in Europe boils down to these days; loads of bogus patents get granted only for European judges to smack these down (if one can afford the court battle)



  19. Almost Six Months After Iancu Said He Would Make Software Patents Great Again Nothing Has Actually Changed

    We're just a fortnight away from the ludicrous plan of Iancu celebrating 6 months (without accomplishing anything)



  20. Links 20/6/2019: Kubernetes 1.15, Alpine 3.10.0 and Librem 5 June Software Update

    Links for the day



  21. Ignore the EPO's Dumb Festival and Focus on the Abuses Against the Workforce and Its Quality of Work

    Don’t lose sight of the appalling behaviour of the management of the EPO; the last thing it wants is press coverage about its gross abuses and corruption — an aspect it spent literally millions of euros to bury (gaming the news cycle)



  22. Microsoft Attempting to Destroy the Careers of Its Critics, Including Free Software Proponents

    Microsoft isn't changing and has not changed; the tactics described above are still being used, even by its "Open Source" (or "Open at Microsoft") people, who did this to me



  23. Links 19/6/2019: Linux Mint Vs Vista 10, Qt 5.13 Released

    Links for the day



  24. The Linux Foundation's Business Model

    The Linux Foundation's plan, illustrated



  25. Links 18/6/2019: i386 Abandoned by Canonical and a New osquery 'Community'

    Links for the day



  26. Indifference or Even Hostility Towards Patent Quality Results in Grave Injustice

    The patent extravaganza in Europe harms small businesses the most (they complain about it), but administrative staff at patent offices only cares about the views of prolific applicants rather than the interests of citizens in respective countries



  27. Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

    Links for the day



  28. 'AI Taskforce' is Actually a Taskforce for Software Patents

    The mainstream media has been calling just about everything "HEY HI!" (AI), but what it typically refers to is a family of old algorithms being applied in possibly new areas; patent maximalists in eastern Asia and the West hope that this mainstream media's obsession can be leveraged to justify new kinds of patents on code



  29. Patent Maximalism is Dead in the United States

    Last-ditch efforts, or a desperate final attempt to water down 35 U.S.C. § 101, isn't succeeding; stacked panels are seen for what they really are and 35 U.S.C. § 101 isn't expected to change



  30. Links 18/6/2019: Linux 5.2 RC5 and OpenMandriva Lx 4

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts