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Jury Finds Against Google in Linux Patent Case

 10:56 am on Apr 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Jury Finds Against Google in Linux Patent Case [fosspatents.blogspot.com]
A jury in the Eastern District of Texas handed a verdict in favor of Bedrock Computer Technologies LLC, determining that Google infringes a Linux-related patent, that the patent is valid, and that Google should pay $5 million for past infringement (through the trial date). The jury took this decision on April 15, 2011, and yesterday (April 20, 2011) the verdict form became accessible via the court's electronic document system.

Google can easily afford $5 million if it has to, but this patent infringement case has major implications for the IT industry in general and for Linux in particular. The plaintiff identified a portion of the Linux kernel as part of the "Accused Instrumentalities". Many companies using Linux have already been required by the patent holder to pay royalties, and many more will now, based on this jury verdict, elect to pay.



 12:19 pm on Apr 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

So many patents, no wonder Goog wants to pay $900 Million for a batch of them. You can use them to blackmail those that may sue you: I sue you, if you sue me


 7:17 am on Apr 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

@walkman, that works only if the person bringing the case has a business that uses patents themselves, so patent trolls do well out of it.

The other problem is that it locks anyone who does not have a patent portfolio entirely out of the market. No small firms or new entrants means you get an oligolopy instead of a competitive market.


 6:38 pm on Apr 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

After reading that patent it sounds exactly like code I implemented in the 80s and 90s based on a book from an IBM fellow James Martin in "Computer DataBase Organization"

That patent has so much predating work it's pathetic.

What he calls "garbage collection" we changed the name to coalescing and my algo's never required the dabatbase to go offline to coalesce empty space either, it happened in real time as you were using the system.

I could elaborate more but why bother, patent trolls irritate me to hell and I've spent enough time helping kill a couple of them that came after my industry, Google can pound sand.

However, people should note this is a prime example of a patent holder suing the USER of the patent, not the manufacturer, because in this case Linux is free, there are no deep pockets unless you go after the users.

People never believe this can happen to them and it's a typical patent troll bank rolling strategy, hit some low hanging fruit first, they'll just pay a crazy license fee to make you go away instead of fight you in court. Then you take the bankroll of license fees and make your move on the real money when you can afford the lawyers.


 7:06 pm on Apr 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

Imagine Tiny Tim singing:

Tip Trolls with the Juleps
While making... all the Patents Pay
So tip Trolls with the Juleps


 3:24 pm on Apr 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not smart enough to understand this one. From the GNU GPL:

Finally, every program is threatened constantly by software patents. States should not allow patents to restrict development and use of software on general-purpose computers, but in those that do, we wish to avoid the special danger that patents applied to a free program could make it effectively proprietary. To prevent this, the GPL assures that patents cannot be used to render the program non-free.

This going to be a major setback for Linux and I'm sure MS is happy about this decision. Sounds like something that is supposed to be Open really isn't... You could roll out servers company-wide only to have a patent troll say you owe them money. This is what has been happening with IVRUs all over the world.


 7:15 pm on Apr 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well the problem for the patent troll is that it might try it in a country where US patent law quackery isn't recognised. It is a hell of a way for the US to destroy a great industry.



 8:47 am on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

@BillyS the GPL provides a patent license from the writer and distributors of the GPL work. It cannot protect you from being sued by a third party.

The problem with the patent system as it is that you never know when you might be hit with a patent suit regardless of what software you use. Some patent holders deliberately hold off enforcing a patent for many years till what is patented is widely used.

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