01.23.09

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Novell Collects Software Patents While Apple Attacks Linux with Patents

Posted in Apple, Novell, Patents at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2 companies wrongly perceived as friends of FOSS

Novell’s quest for software patents continues. That’s just how Novell markets itself. It uses software patents as a distinguisher/differentiator, which leads to resentment in the Free software community. Here is Novell’s latest addition:

Method and apparatus for maintaining peripheral device support information , patent No. 7,480,745, invented by Bart Dahneke, of Provo; Ted Wayne Tronson, of Provo; Michael John Cowley, of Provo; and Victor Hugo Parra, of Lindon; assigned to Novell Inc., of Provo.

Novell is not the only company that’s strongly (and wrongly) credited for contributions to Free software despite its obvious attacks on the spirit and foundations of Free software. There is also Apple, which is hostile towards GNU/Linux [1, 2].

If Apple and Novell share a common pain at the moment, it is that both companies are currently under fire from this one patent troll.

Apple among PC makers sued over OS permissions tech

The latest suit arrives on the heels of a complaint lodged earlier this month by IPAT and GITH that made similar accusations against a group of software makers regarding the same patents. Named in that suit were Microsoft, Symantec, F-Secure, Novell, AVG Technologies and PC Tools.

But is Apple just using patents defensively? Not by a long shot. To make matters worse, Apple claims the inventions of others.

Speaking of Apple, which is among those sued in the above case, it appears to be threatening to sue Linux-based products.

Apple Hints at Legal Action Against Palm

Remember when Steve Jobs launched the iPhone, and held it up in the air, proudly proclaiming “Boy, have we patented it”, followed by a massive applause of the adoring audience? It may seem like this wasn’t just an empty claim, either. During the earnings conference call yesterday, the company hinted at possible legal action against Palm were the Pre to infringe on iPhone patents.

How charming. First Apple exploits Free software (BSD) and now it’s just attacking competition that uses Free software, using the very antithesis of Free software.

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”

Linus Torvalds

Apple Mac G5
Intellectual monopolies inside

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10 Comments

  1. oiaohm said,

    January 23, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Gravatar

    Ok Apple has never been that patent friendly. Palm is kinda has large problems. Apple newton predates them even existing. Yes iphone sits on some patents from back then. Its just like font rendering Apple holds most of the key patents to render fonts to screen.

    Open Source world and Apple have a very love hate relationship. Apple works on cups and give it to everyone. Yet at other times they enforce there patents.

  2. mpz said,

    January 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Gravatar

    I never understood the general love-fest with apple. And any ‘open sauce’ love from them is just nonsensical bordering on insanity.

    Anyone old enough to remember their original ‘look and feel’ lawsuit over windows (1?) knows they’re one of the nastiest, litigious pieces of work in existance. I know i will never own any piece of apple-made hardware because they’re simply arseholes.

  3. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 24, 2009 at 1:22 am

    Gravatar

    Roy,

    Roughly Drafted claims that Tim Cook was misquoted. Interesting if true. Another point to consider is that there appears to be no mention of Linux, just of Palm.

  4. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 24, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Gravatar

    And you wonder why Novell files for more patents to protect itself. As I’ve told you guys before (but you don’t ever listen), patent troll companies are not the only companies that sue other companies over patents.

    The more patents that Novell have, the more likely they will be able to fight back against these attacks by Apple.

    But oh yea, I forgot, you /want/ Novell to die, /that’s/ the real reason you badmouth them for obtaining patents because your favorite companies like Red Hat also file for patents, but we never hear you complaining about that. Your hypocrisy shows itself once again.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 24, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Gravatar

    Tell me when Red Hat uses patents to leverage itself at Debian’s expense.

  6. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 24, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Gravatar

    Likewise, tell me when Novell uses their patents to attack Debian.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 24, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Gravatar

    It already does.

  8. Dan O'Brian said,

    January 24, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Gravatar

    No, it does not. You are confusing marketing (which don’t target debian, btw) with legal attacks.

    Red Hat also has a marketing department and they also attack competitors.

    This is nothing new, stop pretending that Novell is the only company to market their advantages over other companies. It shows your irrational hatred for everything Novell.

  9. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 24, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Gravatar

    Marketing F/OSS using patents? Now, *there’s* an ‘innovative’ concept.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 25, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Gravatar

    Here are some updates on the Palm-Apple situation:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=34922
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=19&entry_id=34978

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