03.21.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

Novell, Red Hat, and Software Patents: Strike II

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pinoccio
Searching for truth regarding Red Hat and software patents

Summary: Novell’s long tradition of software patenting lives on, but what about Red Hat?

WE already know very well about Novell and its attitude towards software patents. It keeps acquiring them and according to the Salt Lake Tribune it has just gotten some more.

Method and system for dynamic assignment of entitlements, patent No. 7,505,972, invented by Jay Wootton of Lindon, Dennis Foster of Spanish Fork, Joe Skehan of Sandy, Charles Morgan of Springville, Jason Elsberry of Provo, Ryan L. Cox of Provo, William Street of Orem, Stephen R. Carter of Spanish Fork, and Nick Nikols of Draper, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

System and method for filtering of web-based content stored on a proxy cache server, patent No. 7,506,055, invented by Carolyn B. McClain of Springville, and Jim E. Thatcher of Pleasant Grove, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

What we are a little disappointed to see is that Red Hat is not serious about or at least not committed to fighting software patents, so the latest Red Hat kerkuffle is not quite over yet. Red Hat did participate in making the Bilski ruling happen, but the FFII is suggesting that there is conflicting evidence nonetheless (more on that soon).

Pieter Hintjens, the former head of the FFII, has pointed out that the first patent problem was not exactly an isolated incident when he pointed at Slashdot’s direction. It made the front page and Digital Majority covered this too. To summarise:

US Patent 7453593 claims command-line processing by a web server of SOAP requests, resulting in XML responses, from and to a remote client. The HTTP Common Gateway Interface (CGI) operates precisely as described in Claim 1. If you POST a SOAP document and return an XHTML response or a SOAP document, this infringes on Claim 2, since both XHTML and SOAP are XML languages. This patent thus claims to own the processing of SOAP documents by CGI programs.

Some guys from the FFII were preparing some questions for Rob Tiller. He joined Red Hat about a year ago. To quote JupiterMedia: “Red Hat today announced that it had hired Rob Tiller as vice president and assistant general counsel, and Richard Fontana, as open source licensing and patent counsel.”

Pieter attaches some questions (from the above):

I have some questions for Red Hat. Dear Red Hat,

* Why are you filing patents on obvious ideas with ample prior art?

* Will you promise not to sue my clients if they embed my AMQP/XML routing engine in their closed-source applications?

* What if IBM buys Red Hat, as they are buying Sun. Does Red Hat’s patent promise still apply?

* Can you confirm or deny suggestions that the Red Hat patent promise lets Red Hat license it patents to a third party, which can then sue FOSS implementors freely?

* Does Red Hat file patents on business methods (as well as on software algorithms)? If so, does your Promise cover the use of these patents by other FOSS distribution businesses?

Later on, Pieter asked:

Here are my questions to Red Hat’s lawyers:

1. Why are you filing patents on obvious ideas with prior art, like SOAP?

2. If my clients embed my free AMQP/XML engine in their closed apps, are they covered by your Promise?

3. If IBM buys Red Hat, does your Promise still hold?

4. If a 3rd party licenses a patent from you, and then sues my FOSS company, does your Promise still hold?

5. Does Red Hat file business method patents on their software distribution business?

6. If “Yes”, does your Promise protect my FOSS distribution business which uses these patents?

7. Would opposition to a Red Hat patent filing at the USPTO or EPO count as “litigation” under the Promise?

Until the use of Red Hat’s patents against competing FOSS firms and their clients is 100% clear and permanent, then I hold that Red Hat’s patent portfolio is first and foremost aimed at FOSS competitors, and only second at “trolls” and closed source firms.

In other patents news, the so-called 'reform' continues to show its wrinkles.

If Silicon Valley wants help in dealing with the so-called patent troll problem you do not need to limit damages, you just need to fix the problem.

Nothing there addresses the issue of self-defending monopolies which fend off competition. Moreover, this remains a system that punishes those who expose the truth and rewards/bribes those who propagate the great lies about ‘innovation’ and the “small inventor”. Another Internet giant, The Go Daddy Group, has just obtained patents on Web hosting/registration.

Go Daddy gets three new patents, bringing total to five.

The Go Daddy Group, Inc, parent company of domain registrar GoDaddy, has been awarded three new patents this month. Based on a search of “Go Daddy” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Go Daddy now has five patents. Its previously issued patents include one for private domain registration (whois privacy) and a server based spam filter.

Who does this system actually serve? It merely protects those who are wealthy enough to be able to afford patents. When it comes to software that respects people’s freedom, it even illegalises it. This helps not at all when O’Reilly publishes a book with the vague/broad title “Intellectual Property and Open Source”; there is now an excerpt from it online. If it’s patents, then call it “patents” and if it’s about copyrights, then be it “copyrights”. To say “intellectual property” is like calling Switzerland “Europe” and arguing that Europe is a land of mountains (never mind if Belgium and Holland hardly have any).

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

6 Comments

  1. JohnD said,

    March 22, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Gravatar

    Acquiring a patent isn’t the same as using against someone. I’m guessing Novell has dozens if not hundreds of patents – how many times have they sued FOSS for patent infringement.
    If Novell has the patent, it means M$ doesn’t – which is good in my opinion. Hopefully the goal of the acquisitions is donation to OIN.
    Only time will tell.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 22, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Gravatar

    If IBM or Microsoft bought Novell along with its patents, then what good would Novell’s promises and obligations be? UNIX counts too.

  3. JohnD said,

    March 22, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Gravatar

    I see your point, but how realistic are either of those situations?
    M$ has already been nailed as a monopoly, I doubt antitrust regulators would allow them to buy a major firm like Novell especially given it’s presence in the server rooms and on desktops. One of the popular theories is that M$ is propping up Novell in an effort to avoid antitrust issues – buying the company would defeat that purpose.
    People are already questioning if IBM/SUN could past antitrust muster and that’s just on the server hardware/Unix end of things.
    One would hope that any donations to OIN are permanent so if Novell does donate it’s a done deal.
    I still think one of the best moves Novell could make is to just buyout SCO then they could donate Unix IP to FOSS and begin a merge of Unix and Linux. You’d be looking at more serious market share if that happens.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    March 22, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Gravatar

    It would not be of much use. Besides, not only Microsoft is a potential acquirer.

  5. Jose_X said,

    March 22, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Gravatar

    I’m assuming a patent could be encumbered for all time by its owner, right (like giving the public certain rights)? An example might be that patent X can be used only for Y purpose and all other rights are given up (to the public). I understand why people would hesitate to make that decision today without knowledge of future threats or risking wording the encumbrance incorrectly. It might make more sense to donate it to a not-for-profit group that would have to work within predefined but more flexible boundaries.

  6. JohnD said,

    March 23, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Gravatar

    I would think that the owner has the ability to change the public’s rights to the patent at anytime – a perk of ownership. Kind of like owning a car. I could restrict it’s use for certain tasks and leave the rest up to the end users, but at the end of the day my name is on the title so I have the final say.
    It is my hope that Novell will donate what patents it can to OIN especially since I doubt the patent system will be fixed anytime soon. I think the only near term fix will be for the public to decide what kind of software is best for them. Hopefully the migration away from Windows will continue.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 25/09/2022: EasyOS 4.4, KDE Reviewed

    Links for the day



  2. Microsoft is Trying to Eliminate POP3 and IMAP for E-mail (Attack on Commodity or Standard Protocols)

    Microsoft is trying to decommoditise (read: control) E-mail by shutting out people who use standard protocols; how long have we got before E-mail becomes a surveillance-intensive walled garden?



  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 24, 2022



  4. YouTube (Alphabet Gulag) Keeps Censoring Videos About Free Software and GNU/Linux

    YouTube (the Alphabet/Google Gulag) seems to be weeding out discussion of software freedom; it's a longstanding issue reported by several GNU/Linux-centric channels over the years



  5. Links 24/09/2022: pgAdmin 4 v6.14 and ONLYOFFICE 7.2 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Links 23/09/2022: KDE Weekly Outline and UbuntuDDE Remix 22.04

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 23, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, September 23, 2022



  8. Geminispace Roughly Quadrupled in Size (and Grew a Lot in Terms of Number of Capsules) Since We Joined It Last Year

    Despite the media's apathy (pretending that Gemini does not exist or does not matter), Geminispace continues to expand and we have 42,703 pages in it



  9. [Meme] Getting Promoted (or Hired/Recruited/Absorbed Directly Into Top Management) by Knowing “The F***ing President”

    The EPO‘s own numbers indicate that as a female it's incredibly hard to get promoted at the EPO; the insiders’ joke is, you need to be a former colleague of Benoît Battistelli/António Campinos (or even a spouse) to get promoted



  10. According to EPO Data, Women Have No Place at the EPO (Unless They Fancy Being Underpaid)

    The European Patent Office, accused by a former president who was female of an “alphamale” issue, treats women poorly; incidentally, she wasn’t just the only female president in a ~25 year period but also the only non-French president in that same period (EPO diversity is a sad farce)



  11. Links 23/09/2022: PeerTube 4.3 and GNOME Report

    Links for the day



  12. Links 23/09/2022: EuroBSDcon 2022 Ahead, PowerDNS Recursor 4.5.11, 4.6.4 and 4.7.3 Out

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, September 22, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, September 22, 2022



  14. Links 22/09/2022: ExTiX 22.9, Rust 1.64.0, Weston 11.0.0, New Mesa, and OpenCL 3.0.12

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft Will Soon be Unlisted in Netcraft's Web Survey (Due to Minuscule, Negligible Market Share)

    A few hours ago this was released by Netcraft; it seems clear that Netcraft’s tables already omit Microsoft in all except 2, where Microsoft is placed last and rapidly loses share (it’ll fall out of sight soon)



  16. Links 22/09/2022: GNOME Builder 43.0 and Hype Over Ubuntu Wallpaper

    Links for the day



  17. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, September 21, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, September 21, 2022



  18. Linux Foundation 'Europe' a Front Group for Patent Trolls and American Monopolies

    About 90% of the Linux Foundation‘s money is spent in the United States (see IRS filing); it’s not global but a front for American corporate interests so adding ‘Europe’ to the name is misleading to say the least; it enables hostile interference in Linux’s name (the lobbyists like to claim to be speaking for those whom they’re against by hijacking words/names)



  19. The Life of Linux Will Be Shortened by a Misguided Adoption of Rust

    There are currently loads of puff pieces (mindless corporate fluff, no technical considerations) about Rust coming to Linux in the sense that Linux will become dependent on a monstrous shebang controlled by Microsoft proprietary software; a lot of developers very well understand the risk, but it feels like nobody wants to face the mob (for saying out loud that the emperor is naked)



  20. Pale Moon's Greed and Corrosive People (Boosted by Microsoft) in “FOSS” “Communities”

    Reprinted with permission from Ryan



  21. The EPO's Local Staff Committee The Hague (LSCTH) is “Requesting Immediate Action”

    Despite relatively quiet weeks there is no calm at the EPO; the quality of patents continues to fall and staff isn't being properly rewarded for the work



  22. [Meme] EPO Abuse Continues, Managers Acting Deaf

    EPO management continues to gaslight and abuse staff, even in direct violation of the EPO’s rules and legal contracts



  23. Links 21/09/2022: GNOME 43 and i3 4.21 Released

    Links for the day



  24. Official Ubuntu Blog Has Just Promoted Microsoft Windows+Systemd

    When people try to install Ubuntu on their PC (if they can get past the illegal technical obstacles) Canonical recommends Microsoft's proprietary software and it also keeps promoting Windows (WSL); what sort of deal/s has Canonical signed with Microsoft? Ubuntu is fast becoming a ‘filthy’ distro like SUSE after Novell signed the deal with Microsoft.



  25. Links 21/09/2022: Debuginfod in Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, September 20, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, September 20, 2022



  27. Links 20/09/2022: OpenJDK Java 19 and System76 Thelio Puff Pieces; More Debian-Private 'Leaks'

    Links for the day



  28. Links 20/09/2022: Darktable 4.0.1, SuperTuxKart 1.4 Release Candidate, and Gajim 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 19, 2022

    IRC logs for Monday, September 19, 2022



  30. Links 19/09/2022: Firefox 105 and OpenMandriva on Ampere Altra

    Links for the day


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

Recent Posts