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Thread: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

  1. #1

    Default Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    I'm trying to figure out what this is really all about. Does anybody even know what part of the Linux kernel is allegedly infringing on this dubious patent?

    Linux patent suit ruled against Google | The Social - CNET News

    A Texas jury has ruled against Google in a suit that alleged some of its use of open-source Linux code amounted to patent infringement, something that could have big implications for other companies using Linux technology and other open-source systems. In the verdict, delivered last week, the jury decided that Google should pay $5 million for the infringement.

    The suit was filed in June 2009 by a firm called Bedrock Computer Technologies, which also named the likes of Yahoo, MySpace, Amazon, PayPal, Match.com, and AOL as defendants in the suit. Bedrock, as was reported when the suit was filed, was founded by a prominent patent reform advocate (the corporation has been accused of being a patent troll) and filed suit against the defendants in question for violation of Patent 5,893,120, detailing "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data."

    Since it's the Linux kernel itself, the core of the open-source operating system, this could have implications well beyond Google--and even beyond the other defendants in the case, for whom court decisions have not yet been determined.

    Read more: Linux patent suit ruled against Google | The Social - CNET News
    I've been reading this document which is quite informative, but only shows the defendants' interpretation of the dispute.

    http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal...6887/284/0.pdf

    I'm trying to determine what the allegedly infringing component actually does.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    On 04/27/2011 09:06 PM, hattons wrote:
    >
    > I'm trying to figure out what this is really all about.


    looks like it is about some lawyer (probable M$ stooge?) looking for a
    payday..

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  3. #3

    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a
    hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of
    expired data."
    Sounds like a hash table backed by linked-lists, which is basic computer
    science. A very dodgy patent, and pretty much all software ever would
    infringe.

    Definitely just a patent troll trying to squeeze out some cash of the
    big names in IT; and because they sued in the notoriously troll-friendly
    East Texas district they won.

    I'm sure once the IBM Nazguls or similar get involved this will get
    squashed.

    Anyway, its another reminder of how broken software patents are.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    There are a few reasons that this seems important, even though the ruling will probably be overturned. The biggest one is the FUD factor. The anti-OSS camp is trying to scare people away from using Linux by making users believe they are vulnerable to law suits by simply installing and running the kernel. It is a direct (though minor) threat to Android, which is a huge market. Again, FUD is a factor here.

    It's not clear to me that the offending program elements were ever identified in the suit. From what I could glean from the new reports, the verdict resulted from the defendant's inability to demonstrate that they were not using the patented technique. That's why I want more info on what the plaintiff presented in evidence.

    The patent, itself, strikes me as dubious. Bedrock Computer Technologies apparently forwarded such a loose interpretation of the patent as to make any garbage collection using a linked list vulnerable to litigation. I have to wonder if the jury even understood the issue under dispute.

    I am interested to know what prior (to 1997) art exists meeting the criteria of BCT's case. Did the offending code exist in Linux at the time the patent was issued?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    I checked out the source author on CNET; I doubt she understands software patent law beyond what she picks up from tabloids like PC World. GNU/Linux can not be stopped and companies like Bedrock Computer Technologies will be bankrupt long before GNU/Linux is forced to ever go underground.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    On 04/28/2011 01:06 AM, hattons wrote:
    >
    > The anti-OSS camp is trying to scare people away from using Linux


    like i said, probably an M$-stooge..

    actually: probably an M$+Apple+Oracle consortium stooge

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    It is amazing that GNU/Linux is constantly under threats of patent law given all the code is open to discussion. Let's see the code from MS or Oracle or the former SCO which now exists under a new name; yes lets see their code, and then everyone can go to court on each other.

    During the whole SCO court saga, not once did any public brief ever point out exactly what the code was which broke patent law, because guess what? if companies actually explained what the code was they did not like, Linux developers would code around it and then no more patent infringement.

    Instead we hear from Ballmer that Open Office breaks 100 of their patents - which are they?
    It is funny how they never say.

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    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    IMHO this is a sad mark of our times where patents and patent laws designed to boost progress actually stifle it. What's more, this is a heaven for lawyers, which I'm not that fond of. The other thing is that usually justice is on the side who has got the better lawyers and they don't come cheap making it even harder for smaller software developing companies.

    Best regards,
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    Best regards,
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    On 04/28/2011 02:36 PM, glistwan wrote:
    >
    > lawyers, which I'm not that fond of.


    Q: What do you call 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
    A: A good start!

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Linux patent suit ruled against Google - What really happened?

    Instead we hear from Ballmer that Open Office breaks 100 of their patents - which are they?
    It is funny how they never say.
    and it is sad, that there is no big player in the Linux camp who stands up and says: "Okay Steve, you have one day and one minute to tell the world which patents are violated. If you dont do that right on time, Ill sue the cr*p out of you" and there it goes. If they do not have any patents violated, they can not say which. So this big player makes an end of the troll of all trolls. This is my dream. That this stupid bugging stops.

    At least for me it is not about FUD or fear. Its just so boring, pesky and what not else. If they would invest all the energy and money, they invest in this *****, into their products, we would have a better world. Without Botnets, cybercriminals and all that.

    I mean, as I see the IT world right now, there are two big loosers: Microsoft and Oracle. And some winners, which make their money from Linux. So... anyway... the Loosers will stay the loosers and one day the are gone anyway. If they sue and bug the world with their presence - then they go even earlier. So what?
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