Steve Ballmer's Prophecy Comes True: Former Microsoft Execs Sue Red Hat, Novell Over Patents

from the funny-how-that-works dept

Jon writes in to let us know that a small patent holding firm, IP Innovation, has sued Red Hat and Novell over patent infringement concerning a ridiculously broad patent. As the Groklaw report outlines, the suing company is actually a subsidiary of Acacia, which is considered to be one of the more egregious firms in using bad patents to squeeze money out of companies. Groklaw also notes that Acacia has recently hired a bunch of execs from Microsoft, leading to the conspiracy theory that Steve Ballmer's recent predictions of patent lawsuits against Red Hat were more than random speculation. I'm not willing to go that far just yet, but as you can see from Ars Technica's breakdown of the patent earlier this year (when the company sued Apple), it describes very broadly the concept of workspaces in a computer user interface. This is yet another example of the worst of our patent system at work. Companies that offer innovative products getting sued using vague, overly broad patents on obvious ideas that never should have been granted in the first place.
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Filed Under: linux, open source, patents
Companies: acacia, microsoft, red hat

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  1. identicon
    CharlieHorse, 12 Oct 2007 @ 10:03pm

    agreed, Reed

    yep - this ain't no coincidence ... m$ knows that it has to tread carefully and so put some distance between itself and any actions of this nature, lest the anti-trust cat be let out of the bag again and even good pals BushCo won't be able to stem the anti-trust tide washing over m$ if they get their hands too dirty on this one.

    this was plan "d" all along anyway.

    plan "a" was fud battle - which was pretty much lost before it even started -

    plan "b" was, well ... more of plan "a" along with thinly veiled threats about "patent infringement" - meant to scare off IT investment in FOSS - all the while back-door funding sco to promote a lawsuit - all meant to fracture the FOSS community ... as well as the tons of planted "research" and "reporting" show how eeeeeevil FOSS is ... oh, well, I guess I already said fud, didn't I ...

    plan "c" was, yeah, more of plan "a" and "b" with more overt efforts to fracture the FOSS community - in this step they also went back to the tried and true "embrace, extend, extinguish" model by "partnering" with novell ... which has likely spelled the doom of novell unless they can worm their way out somehow - but hey, sleep with the devil and you're bound to get fleas ... errr, or something like that ... (alas, poor Yorick ... I knew him Horatio ...)

    plan "d" was/is: "crap, nothing is working ... FOSS is kicking the crap out of everything we make by orders of magnitude ..." so finally, they are starting to unleash the patent trolls - and you can be sure they will very carefully watch to see how this turns out.

    if it's over quick, they may back off again for a bit to re-think, but more likely if it drags out - you can bet that suddenly lots of m$ buddy companies will be discovering that they, too, need to sue FOSS companies ... probably a lot of the same companies that suddenly realized how much they needed to be full p-members of the ISO committee just before the open office xml vote ...

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