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11.12.15

After Patent Deal With Microsoft Canon Gets Sued (Using Software Patents) by a Microsoft-Connected Patent Troll

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lessons for Red Hat

Canon camera

Summary: Red Hat’s mysterious and seemingly very selfish patent deal with Microsoft continues to float (or reverberate) because of the fate of companies in a similar position

IT has been nearly a week since Red Hat’s poor clarification (FAQ) regarding its patent agreement with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Only a few days later Microsoft extorted yet another company for using Linux and since our detailed media survey there have been yet more articles about it. There are examples from earlier today [1-3], yesterday [4], two days ago [5], and prior days (more articles are still surfacing from that time, e.g. [6-9)). As we pointed out earlier today, we are still waiting to hear back from Red Hat (this afternoon we were told it had been escalated to management). We hope that this kind of patent approach won’t spread to entities like Mozilla because Red Hat has pretty much become part of the problem. It is now filing patent applications for software (any claims of opposition to software patents would be hypocritical) and it is signing what seems like exclusionary patent deals with Microsoft (it’s still kept secret, so it’s hard if not impossible for Red Hat to prove otherwise).

“It’s not the same as it was back in the days of the FireStar settlement.”After the patent deal with Microsoft Red Hat is still exposed to patent trolls like the Microsoft-connected Acacia. Red Hat has already been sued by it several times before (Novell too was sued by Acacia after it had signed the Microsoft patent deal). Red Hat also made secret deals (it agreed to pay Acacia), whereupon we lost hope and trust in Red Hat's misguided patent strategy. It’s not the same as it was back in the days of the FireStar settlement [1, 2, 3]. Red Hat is growing up and just like Google (with Android) it is increasingly being run by lawyers, who probably advise it to hoard patents of its own and sign patent deals where it’s financially beneficial to Red Hat’s shareholders (regardless of the impact on the Free software community).

“If Red Hat genuinely believes that Red Hat and its customers now have patent “standstill”, then it obviously didn’t do its homework regarding Microsoft’s satellites.”Now, recall Canon’s recent patent deal with Microsoft. Also remember that both companies pressured the EPO to treat large corporations differently when it comes to patent examination. Did Canon really think that it would have patent peace after signing a deal with Microsoft? Based on this latest docket report, Intellectual Ventures attacked Canon and its “Image Scanning Patent [is] Not Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101″ (Alice). To quote the docket report, Intellectual Ventures I LLC et al v. Canon Inc. et al, 1-13-cv-00473 (DED November 9, 2015, Order) (Robinson, J.): “The court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment that plaintiffs’ image scanning patent was invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found that the claims were not directed toward a patent-ineligible concept.”

If Red Hat genuinely believes that Red Hat and its customers now have patent “standstill”, then it obviously didn’t do its homework regarding Microsoft’s satellites. It didn’t even bother thinking about satellites like Acacia, which sued not only Red Hat but also Novell, only months after Novell had boasted patent “peace of mind” with Microsoft.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Red Hat launches Cloud Access on Microsoft Azure
  2. Microsoft, Red Hat join forces for hybrid cloud
  3. Wikibon calls Microsoft-Red Hat partnership a win for both parties
  4. Microsoft and Red Hat to deliver new standard for enterprise cloud experiences
  5. Microsoft and Red Hat partnership: Flexibility for enterprise hybrid cloud solutions
  6. Enterprise Tech Vendors Explore Strategies To Fight Disruption
  7. Microsoft, Red Hat announce partnership on enterprise cloud
  8. Microsoft and Red Hat Partner on Massive Hybrid Cloud Deal
  9. Microsoft and Red Hat announce a Partnership
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