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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: linux, open source, patents
Companies: acacia, microsoft, red hat


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Oct 2007 @ 8:49am

    Re:

    I'm not sure I see a full connection here. Acacia hired some ex-MSFT execs, and then went on to sue over the paten, and I don't see any information that this action is supported by Microsoft. From the sounds of it, Acacia could even go after MSFT over this one (though I doubt we'll see that).

    Regardless, I just don't see the evidence that there is a conspiracy here. I'm sure that Acacia has many employees who have had another job at some point in their life. If John Doe in accounting happened to work a summer at McDonald's in college does that mean that Ronald is now behind the scenes pulling the strings?

    Sure, things are a litle fishy but I don't see how this suit has anything to do with MSFT.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Sponsored Promotion
Public Money, Public Code - Sign The Open Letter at publiccode.eu
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.