Red Hat, Novell sued for patent infringement

In this sue-happy world, it was only a matter of time before Linux became a target. A company has dared to declare a patent infringement against not one, but two Linux vendors.

IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corporation are suing Red Hat and Novell for patent infringement in three similar patents including US Patent No. 5,072,412 for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" issued December 10, 1991. According to the plaintiffs, Red Hat and Novell are deliberately and wilfully infringing on the patents since they were previously notified of the infringement and continue to sell the Red Hat Linux system, the Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, and the Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

IP Innovation in Northbrook, Ill., and Technology Licensing are seeking an injunction from the court, damages, and "other relief that the court or a jury may deem just and proper," according to the lawsuit. IP Innovation is a subsidiary of The Acacia Technologies Group, a division of Acacia Research that develops, acquires, licenses, and enforces patented technologies. Based in Carson City, Nevada, Technology Licensing is a company that acquires and licenses intellectual property primarily in involving electronics for the television industry, according to its Web site.

News source: InfoWorld

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OMFG people, this is exactly why technology is so backwards today. Image where we would be if people werent suing left and right when someone else used their ideas to advance tech. Money is not an issue in cyberspace. Well, at least we wish it wasnt. Anyways, we will never have a great technological leap forward unless people can stop bickering like 4th graders ("my toy!" "NO MY TOY!") and work together. Dear lord.

The problem here is that neither of these companies "sell" Linux. They sell support - you just happen to get installation media with it.

Also, I think these types of companies should be outlawed. Their whole business model is based on acquiring patents and suing companies they believe are infringing on them. This is what I consider to be organized extortion.

Hah, saw that one coming a mile off. Microsoft's investment in Caldera (SCO) exploded into nothing and now they're gonna have a go at it themselves. Darly boy failed.

Sorry Microsoft, but the Multiple Workspaces thing was always a part of XWindows from its inception. Most people didn't know back in 1991 because except for MIT, the rest of us just didn't have the sheer horsepower needed to run it, XWindows has been being worked on since 1984.

WOW, did you even read the article? The company suing is IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corporation, not Microsoft. From the name it seems that these guys are just patent squatters, and this is all they do.

I hope they get laughed out of court, I would hate to see virtual desktops taken out of X-Windows.

funnyperson1 said,
WOW, did you even read the article?

Lessee, reading other articles on other sites, like InformationWeek, we find little details like:

Less than two weeks after it hired a senior intellectual-property executive from Microsoft, a California-based firm has filed a patent-infringement suit against Red Hat and Novell, distributors of open-source software that Microsoft has long claimed violates its patents.

And from Groklaw:

Mr. Brunell joins Acacia from Microsoft, where during his 16 year career he held a number of management positions, including General Manager, Intellectual Property Licensing.

Acacia Chairman & CEO, Paul Ryan commented "Mr. Brunell is a great addition to our management team. His business strategy, licensing and intellectual property experience will be extremely valuable as we continue to build our leadership position in technology licensing."

So, heads up, the MS Bounty Hunter has been sent out.

Don't you lose your patent if you don't defend it? I think not doing anything for 15 or more years would be considered abandoning your patent...

No, you loose a trademark if you don't defend it. Patents remain valid for their whole life time. This patent expires 10 December 2008.

Their just picking on the 2 largest Linux distrubutors. All operating systems have "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects" which to me means a taskbar to keep track of windows.

Exactly, we really gotta restructure the patent process, stopping vague licenses so we can finally end these frivolous lawsuits, once and for all!

I love how this **** was patented in 1991 and they are just now (16 years later) filing suit. Hell, weren't computers basically command line back in '91?