Open Source Initiative General Counsel: Patent Trolls Vs. Open Source Is Here
On his Law & Life: Silicon Valley blog, intellectual property attorney Mark Radcliffe offers his own view that the recently filed lawsuit by IP Innovation LLC and Technology Licensing Corporation against Novell and open source software solutions provider Red Hat "may be the first volley in a patent war against open source software."
To articulate his point, Radcliffe- (pro bono General Counsel of the Open Source Initiative)- cites the reputation of the two claimant's owner, Acacia, as "a well-known paten troll which has been buying patents for some time and works through multiple facilities." And Radcliffe seems troubled as well by the announcement earlier this month that Brad Bunnell, former General Manager of Intellectual Property Licensing for Microsoft has just joined Acacia.
Reading the Radcliffe post, it seems as though his views about the nature of this case- as well as Acacia-s more overarching designs, was hardened after noting remarks made at the Software Freedom Law Center Seminar on FOSS issues on Friday by Columbia University Law Professor Eben Moglen.
(FOSS is an acronym for Free Open-Source Software)
"Eben raises the intriguing question about whether these incidents are related.," writes Radcliffe. "Given the time that it takes to prepare a patent lawsuit, Brad's hiring probably did not effect the filing of this lawsuit. However the hiring may indicate the addition of a new business line for Acacia: suits against open source companies."
Radcliffe then adds that in his view, "Steve Ballmer's recent comments about Red Hat's obligation to pay Microsoft for alleged use of its patents makes this lawsuit and the timing of the move interesting."
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