03.31.13

Gemini version available ♊︎

Rackspace and Red Hat Battle Against Vile Troll (‘Uniloc USA’) Can Help Weaken Software Patents in the US

Posted in Patents, Red Hat at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rack

Summary: Rackspace helps beat software patents, with additional help from Red Hat

THE EFF is happy with the outcome of a trial that Dietrich Schmitz covered on Friday. “Luckily for the defendant,” he said, “the judge ruled early on before the case got under way and was saved a substantial sum in litigation fees for fighting a frivolous lawsuit.” But the main point here, patents got thrown out for being reducible to math, just like all software patents. This is major.

Here is an article about the decision:

Today was a big day in patent law, which is important to anyone who thinks they might one day have an original idea for a product, and wants to protect it. In particular, if that idea involves an algorithm or software.

First, a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas threw out a claim against cloud storage company Rackspace, stemming from a 2012 complaint filed by Uniloc USA. The case, according to a TechCrunch report, asserted that the “processing of floating point numbers by the Linux operating system was a patent violation.” In other words, a processing method, or counting method, might be the exclusive property of Uniloc.

Here is other good coverage and some from the SFLC:

Several times in recent years, opponents of software patents have looked hopefully to Congress and the Supreme Court for a solution to the expensive problem of software patents, and several times we’ve been disappointed. The narrow Bilski v. Kappos ruling invalidated one business method patent but left the question of software patents to one side, and even arguably weakened a rule—the “machine-or-transformation” test—intended to limit the scope of patentability. The reforms of the America Invents Act were half-hearted; they provided additional opportunities to challenge patents at the USPTO, but did not fundamentally affect the rules for patenting software.

Despite these missed opportunities, there are signs of slower but consistent reform in the courts, and yesterday’s ruling in the Eastern District of Texas in Uniloc v. Rackspace is one of them. The Uniloc ruling is about as good as it gets for a defendant in a software patent case: the judge dismissed the case at an early stage on the grounds that the claim at issue described an unpatentable mathematical formula.

LWN wrote about this and Mark Webbink, formerly of Red Hat, covered this in Groklaw. Many correctly call Uniloc a patent troll, including this headline:

A patent troll that accused Rackspace of violating a patent merely by selling Linux-based servers has seen its case thrown out. A judge ruled the patent claim invalid because it describes a relatively simple math operation.

The company in question is Uniloc, which has a long history of suing tech vendors. In 2009, a US District Court judge overturned a $388 million verdict Uniloc had won against Microsoft. That litigation was finally settled late last year for an undisclosed sum. Uniloc continues litigating however, with at least a dozen lawsuits filed just last week.

Uniloc sued Rackspace in June 2012 in US District Court in Eastern Texas (PDF), claiming Rackspace violated its patent “by or through making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing servers running Linux Kernel (version 2.6 or higher), which is used to process floating point operations carried out on Rackspace’s servers including those servers used in conjunction with Rackspace’s hosting solutions/products.”

The fight of Rackspace against patent troll Uniloc is not Rackspace’s only battle against software patents, as was covered here before. Here is the press release about the outcome:

Plaintiff Uniloc USA, Inc. is a frequent litigator, having brought patent lawsuits against many high-tech companies including Adobe, Microsoft, Sony and Symantec. Rackspace provides its customers with managed servers running the Linux operating system. Red Hat, which supplies Linux to Rackspace, provided Rackspace’s defense as part of Red Hat’s commitment to standing behind customers through Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance program.

Here’s more:

Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) and Rackspace Hosting, Inc. (NYSE: RAX) announced that they have won a federal court decision granting early dismissal of all claims in a lawsuit brought by the patent assertion entity Uniloc USA, Inc.

Plaintiff Uniloc USA, Inc. is a frequent litigator, having brought patent lawsuits against many high-tech companies including Adobe, Microsoft, Sony and Symantec. Rackspace provides its customers with managed servers running the Linux operating system. Red Hat, which supplies Linux to Rackspace, provided Rackspace’s defense as part of Red Hat’s commitment to standing behind customers through Red Hat’s Open Source Assurance program.

The press release calls Uniloc plaintiff rather than troll. How polite. “Uniloc USA, Inc.” is not a company, this is a façade. Here is a good article from a FOSS news site:

Red Hat and Rackspace have won the court battle with patent troll Uniloc USA, Inc. The company alleged in its complaint that the processing of floating point numbers by the Linux operating system violated U.S. Patent 5,892,697. A federal court decision had granted an early dismissal of all claims in a lawsuit brought by Uniloc USA, Inc.

This bit of news got heaps of coverage (here is some in German), probably more than coverage of Red Hat’s financial results. Let’s hope this case has maximal impact on US law.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Microsoft DuckDuckGo Falls to Lowest Share in 2 Years After Being Widely Exposed as Microsoft Proxy, Fake 'Privacy'

    DuckDuckGo, according to this latest data from Statcounter, fell from about 0.71% to just 0.58%; all the gains have been lost amid scandals, such as widespread realisation that DuckDuckGo is a Microsoft informant, curated by Microsoft and hosted by Microsoft (Bing is meanwhile laying off many people, but the media isn’t covering that or barely bothers)



  2. This is What the Microsoft-Sponsored Media Has Been Hyping Up for Weeks (Ahead of Microsoft Layoffs)

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  3. [Meme] António Campinos Wants to Be F***ing President Until 2028

    António Campinos insists he will be EPO President for 10 years, i.e. even longer than Benoît Battistelli (despite having appalling approval rates from staff)



  4. European Patent Office Staff Losing Hope

    The EPO’s management with its shallow campaign of obfuscation (pretending to protect children or some other nonsense) is not fooling patent examiners, who have grown tired and whose representatives say “the administration shows no intention of involving the staff representation in the drafting of the consultant’s mandate” (like in Sirius ‘Open Source’ where technical staff is ignored completely for misguided proposals to pass in the dark)



  5. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 26, 2023

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 26, 2023



  6. Sirius Relegated/Demoted/Destined Itself to Technical Hell by Refusing to Listen to the Technical Staff (Which Wanted to Stay With Asterisk/Free Software)

    In my final year at Sirius ‘Open Source’ communication systems had already become chaotic; there were too many dysfunctional tools, a lack of instructions, a lack of coordination and the proposed ‘solution’ (this past October) was just more complexity and red tape



  7. Geminispace Approaching Another Growth Milestone (2,300 Active Capsules)

    The expansion of Geminispace is worth noting again because another milestone is approached, flirted with, or will be surpassed this coming weekend



  8. [Meme] Cannot Get a Phone to Work... in 2022

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ wasted hours of workers’ time just testing the phone after it had moved to a defective system of Google (proprietary); instead of a rollback (back to Asterisk) the company doubled down on the faulty system and the phones still didn’t work properly, resulting in missing calls and angst (the company just blamed the workers who all along rejected this new system)



  9. [Meme] Modern Phones

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ is mistaking “modern” for better; insecurity and a lack of tech savvy typically leads to that



  10. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Corporation Demonstrates a Lack of Understanding of Security and Privacy

    Sirius ‘Open Source’, emboldened by ISO ‘paperwork’ (certification), lost sight of what it truly takes to run a business securely, mistaking worthless gadgets for “advancement” while compelling staff to sign a new contract in a hurry (prior contract-signing scandals notwithstanding)



  11. Links 26/01/2023: LibreOffice 7.4.5 and Ubuntu Pro Offers

    Links for the day



  12. Links 26/01/2023: GNU poke 3.0 and PipeWire 0.3.65

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 25, 2023

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 25, 2023



  14. Companies Would Collapse Upon Abandoning Their Original Goals (That Attracted All the Productive Staff)

    Staff with technical skills won't stick around in companies that reject technical arguments and moreover move to proprietary software in a company that brands itself "Open Source"



  15. [Meme] Listen to Your Workers, Avert Disaster

    Companies that refuse to take input from staff are doomed to fail



  16. The ISO Delusion: When the Employer Doesn’t Understand the Company's Value Proposition (Building Systems) and Rejects Security

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ has failed to sell what it was actually good at; instead it hired unqualified people and outsourced almost everything



  17. Links 25/01/2023: NuTyX 23.01.1 and GNU Guile 3.0.9 Released

    Links for the day



  18. Links 25/01/2023: Stratis 3.5.0 and Many Political Links

    Links for the day



  19. New Record Low: Only One 'Linux' Article in ZDNet in More Than Two Weeks

    Only a few years ago ZDNet published about 3 “Linux” stories per day (mostly FUD pieces); now it’s a ghost town, painted in ‘alien green’; considering ZDNet’s agenda (and sponsors) maybe it’s better this way



  20. Links 25/01/2023: Pale Moon 32.0 and DXVK 2.1

    Links for the day



  21. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 24, 2023

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 24, 2023



  22. ISO Certification Hardly Tackles Any of the Real Issues

    The real-world threats faced by private companies or non-profit organisations aren't covered by the ISO certification mill; today we publish the last post on this topic before proceeding to some practical examples



  23. [Meme] Medical Data Sovereignty

    What happens when your medical records/data are accessible to a company based abroad after a mysterious NDA with the Gates Foundation? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) does not mind.



  24. The ISO Delusion: Sirius Open Wash Ltd. and Medical Data/Projects at Risk/Peril

    Sirius ‘Open Source’ was good at gloating about “ISO” as in ISO certification (see our ISO wiki to understand what ISO truly is; ISO certification needs to be more widely condemned and exposed) while signing all sorts of dodgy deals and lying to clients (some, like the Gates Foundation, were never mentioned because of a mysterious NDA); security and privacy were systematically neglected and some qualified as criminal negligence (with fines/penalties likely an applicable liability if caught/reported)



  25. Links 24/01/2023: Wine 8.0 is Ready, FSF Bolsters Copyleft

    Links for the day



  26. Azure Has Layoffs Again, Microsoft Still Cutting

    Even supposed ‘growth’ areas at Microsoft are being culled (this growth is faked, it is a lie)



  27. Links 24/01/2023: Tails 5.9 and ArcoLinux v23.02

    Links for the day



  28. Links 24/01/2023: GStreamer 1.22 and Skrooge Gets New Site

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 23, 2023

    IRC logs for Monday, January 23, 2023



  30. The Inside(r) Story of ISO 'Certification' Mills

    Based on my experiences inside Sirius ‘Open Source’ — as I was there for nearly 12 years — I finally tell what I’ve witnessed about ISO certification processes (see ISO wiki for prior experiences)


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