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

03.31.13

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 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

What Else is New


  1. Ahead of Supreme Court Decision, the Patent Microcosm is Trying to Scandalise PTAB

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which defends many businesses from bogus patents and patent trolls, comes under fire from protectors of the trolls (or those who profit from patent Armageddon/legal chaos)



  2. Benoît Battistelli's Misbehaviour Condemned the UPC to Death

    Press coverage regarding the cause for Germany's decision to halt UPC ratification, with suspension pending in part owing to the serious abuses in Munich and Berlin



  3. The Patent Microcosm is Pushing Hard to Weaken Alice and Revoke PTAB's Authority Using an Upcoming Supreme Court Case

    Patent profiteers (not inventors) continue their shameful campaign against Alice and PTAB now that software patents are in shambles and many get invalidated without them being used litigiously



  4. News About Patents Dominated by Patent Trolls/Aggressors, Their Press Releases, and Sympathisers

    A collection of news items from yesterday, demonstrating just to what degree the narrative of patent trolls (or aggressors) is being spread by paying for distribution



  5. Amazon's 1-Click Patent Continues to Tarnish the Image of the USPTO and of Patents in General

    Public ridicule and scorn over the shallowness of patents granted in the US is inevitable (Amazon has a patent even on white background in photographs), demonstrating that patent maximalism does nobody a favour, only a great disservice to both patenters and the public at large



  6. Bristows LLP Tries Hard to Maintain the Illusion That UPC is Alive, Using Media Placements and Paid Plugs

    Ever-so-desperate efforts to keep the Unitary Patent (UPC) in headlines, even though nothing is happening and nothing is likely to happen any time soon



  7. Links 22/8/2017: Linux 4.13 RC6, Mesa 17.1.7, Wine 2.15, Android O

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: July 2nd – July 29th 2017

    Many IRC logs



  9. IRC Proceedings: June 4th – July 1st, 2017

    Many IRC logs



  10. IRC Proceedings: May 7th – June 3rd, 2017

    Many IRC logs



  11. IRC Proceedings: April 9th, 2017 – May 6th, 2017

    Many IRC logs



  12. Patent Scope Recognised as Essential For Patent Quality, But Software Patents Continue to be Granted

    Patents that are toothless, clawless lions are being accumulated by companies that should know various courts would scrutinise these enough to rule them invalid



  13. Litigation and Patenting Versus Research and Development

    reminder of who's 'stealing' jobs from engineers and who it is done for (who benefits from mass taxation rather than actual production)



  14. The Federal Circuit Has Become the Go-To Place For Patent Appeals Arising From USPTO Errors

    Patent appeals that come to CAFC as a result of bad Patent Office decisions now outnumber the appeals coming from district courts (an extraordinary situation)



  15. The Truly Odd Concept of Design Patents, Which the US Supreme Court Might Crush Very Soon

    The epidemic of shallow patents, which has already resulted in patents on mere designs, be soon end; but not before an unprecedented gold rush for such patents



  16. Quality of European Patents Has Sunk, Value Diminished

    The trouble associated with declining patent quality at the European Patent Office and early warnings about it from the staff union



  17. The Notorious 1-Click Buying Patent Expired Rather Than Invalidated

    As proof of the fact that many bogus patents (typically on software) are worthless but not invalidated, we now have Amazon's patents reaching their end of life



  18. PTAB Crushes Software Patents and Patent Extremists Are Not Happy About It

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), a legal facility which invalidates many software patents, still faces opposition from those who profit from software patents (not software developers)



  19. Software Patents and Patent Trolls Are Almost the Same Problem (Still)

    Apple just got sued again, Microsoft-connected patent trolls continue serial litigation against Microsoft's competitors, and a bike shop gets sued using software patents



  20. Links 20/8/2017: KStars 2.8.1, Fedora Design Interns

    Links for the day



  21. Lack of Independent Judiciary Under the Unitary Patent (Like Boards of Appeal Under Battistelli, in Defiance of the EPC) Will Possibly Kill the Unified Patent Court

    Germany, a key player in UPC negotiations (most patents at stake), cannot proceed to ratification and Britain's expected exit from the European Union further restricts any progress



  22. The Staff Union of the EPO Has Long Warned About Declining Patent Quality

    The quality of granted European Patents (EPs) has been declining sharply and the EPO's staff representatives have warned about it for a long time, only to find themselves severely reprimanded for telling the truth



  23. The EPO's Management Needs a Perception of Security Crisis

    The EPO follows that familiar pattern of writing about every Islamic terror attack in Europe (and in the US too) while media in Munich tells a story where facts are yet uncertain



  24. Links 18/8/2017: Wallpaper of Plasma 5.11, Oracle Liberates Java EE a Bit

    Links for the day



  25. Links 17/8/2017: Krita 3.2.0, New Raspbian GNU/Linux OS

    Links for the day



  26. Corruption at the European Patent Office and Systematic Bullying That Leads People to Suicide/Bankruptcy

    A look back at 3 years of intensive EPO coverage and what's coming up next (suppression of truth behind closed doors in the courtrooms)



  27. Supreme Court Decision on TC Heartland v Kraft Food Brands Group Already Vacates the Eastern District of Texas

    Patent trolls are losing their mojo as patent lawsuits drop 21% in the Eastern District of Texas and this collapse is expected to accelerate



  28. Media Dominated by the Patent Microcosm Spreads Myths and Defends Patent Trolls, Collectors

    Popular culture myths, such as Edison being a prolific inventor, and what we all ought to know about an actual patent epidemic (vast increase in the number of patents granted, bringing the total to over 10 million in the US)



  29. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Squashes Many Software Patents (Abstract) and §101 Seems Safe From Lobbying by the Patent Microcosm

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), together with the Alice-inspired §101, is an efficient eliminator of bogus patents on software and there is no end to that in sight



  30. Ericsson Hired From the World's Largest Patent Troll and Became a Massive Troll in Europe

    Ericsson's patent aggression campaign (even in Europe) carries on; it turns out the person behind this strategy came from Intellectual Ventures


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts