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ExtraTorrent.cc > Articles > Major Companies Were Sued For Using Linux

Major Companies Were Sued For Using Linux

Major Companies Were Sued For Using Linux

Added: Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
Category: Recent Headlines Involving File Sharing > Ridiculous Criminal Trials
Tags:ET, p2p, Torrent, Piracy, Peer To Peer, Network, Hackers, Internet, BitTorrent, Google, utorrent, bitcomet, extratorrent, 2010, www.extrattorrent.com
People who were looking forward to seeing Linux in the workplace may be disappointed with the news. A company Bedrock Computer Technologies recently sued Google for patent infringement. What was the reason? They said Google used the Linux OS.

This small software company can turn the case into quite big implications: it has claimed that the Linux kernel is infringing on its patent ? 5,893,120 made on a method of performing storage and retrieval in data storage system. One of the latest targets, Google, was fined $5 million. In fact, any company using Linux servers is now facing the threat of being sued if it didn’t pay royalties to Bedrock Computer Technologies! The BBC confirmed that such other giants as Yahoo, MySpace, Amazon, and AOL had also been targeted by Bedrock Computer Technologies.

The main problem is that there are a lot of Linux users in the United States who will now be demanded to pay royalties to this patent holder. Of course, this becomes a major obstacle to the Linux growth, making giant companies like Google, relying on open source code, especially vulnerable to patent threats.

Critics point out that people looking to make revenue from buried patents just need to spend some time poring over code and waiting for violations. It costs next to nothing to have a team of Indian programmers to review code. Industry observers are also afraid that Bedrock Computer Technologies may now move further and claim that all Linux users throughout the world are currently infringing on their patent. Taking into account the huge number of businesses using Linux servers, it seems like this patent can be used extensively against almost any company whose activity has nothing to do with this patent at all. In other words, it equals to a new tax for anyone using Linux.

Now, if Google chooses to not fight this battle, it would mean a huge trouble for the entire Linux community residing in any corporate environment. Earlier, the main advantage of using free software was that you don’t have to pay royalties, which makes it cheaper. But now this advantage is basically undermined. This fact will undoubtedly re-ignite the discussions over the legality of software patents at all. It was a while ago that many industry observers argued that the software patents shouldn’t be allowed to exist.

April 27th,2011

Posted by: 

Date:  Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Comments (9) (please add your comment »)

posted by (2011-04-27 19:13:19)
Armando_G avatarThis is stupid.. the linux kernel uses some sections that are the same as the ones in that patent, but not all.. thats like Coca-Cola suing Corel because they use C,O, and L in their name in the same order.....

posted by ET junkieET loverTurtle (2011-04-27 19:41:26)
fusseltier avatarso much for open source and free, there is always some greedy sneak waiting in the wings.
hopefully google takes it to court and its found that no royalties need paid since it was always stated that linux was free and they cant come back years later like this, they should have done this years ago.

posted by Blocked (2011-04-28 00:07:34)
menahunie avatarGoogle to Pay $5M for Linux Infringements
Mark Kurlyandchik - April 22, 2011 6:59 PM
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Implications of the lawsuit could stretch far and wide across IT industry

FOSS Patents blog reports that a Texas jury has ruled against Google in a patent infringement case that will cost the company at least $5 million in damages.

The jury ruled in favor of Bedrock Computer Technologies LLC, a company run by former patent reformer David Garrod, on April 20. Garrod is now a patent troll who targets small companies that operate in the notoriously patent troll-friendly jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Texas along with larger companies just to have the case brought to trial in that jurisdiction.

Bedrock -- which filed the suit in June 2009 against Softlayer Technologies, CitiWare Technology Solutions, Google, Yahoo!, MySpace, Amazon.com, PayPal, Match.com, AOL, and the CME Group -- alleged that a Linux kernel infringes on a 1997 patent relating to "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data."

As Ars Technica wrote about the lawsuit when it was first filed in 2009: "It's a textbook example of patent trolling: a lawsuit over a relatively broad and dubious patent executed by a company that makes nothing itself against a random assortment of deep-pocketed industry leaders."

It's also interesting that the CitiWare Technology Solutions is a company based in the Eastern District of Texas that has no products, no employees, and no longer exists.

But the Linux kernel that the jury ruled infringes on the patent is at the heart of Google's server farm. The allegations against Google were the first to go to trial, and Google's attempts to invalidate the patent failed.

In addition to the $5 million owed by Google, the implications of the case stretch far and wide across the IT industry, particularly for Linux and Google's Linux-based Android mobile OS, FOSS Patents reports. The money owed by Google is just for past damages. Companies who continue to use the Linux kernel will have to pay royalties.

In relation to Android, Google will most likely be forced to change the Linux kernel it distributes with Android to remove the infringing code.

The decision also doesn't bode well for the 40-some other patent infringement cases related to Android that Google is currently dealing with. "If Google can't defend itself successfully against one patent held by a little non-practicing entity from Texas, what does this mean for Oracle's lawsuit over seven virtual machine patents?" Florian Mueller writes in the FOSS Patents blog. "This shows that having deep pockets to afford the best lawyers isn't enough."

Google will likely appeal the verdict.

posted by (2011-04-28 03:17:05)
DEMONLORD avatarwtf is the world coming to

posted by ET lover (2011-04-28 03:55:36)
SyKoTiK avatarI'd like to see the patent itself and know the names of the specific distributions of Linux that contain this code, but I would have thought that this would have been negated because most open-source software is published under the GNU General Public License or other similar licenses that say you can't make any profit from the distribution or code there-in. I may have missed something, but that's what my take on this whole thing is.

Here are 2 excerpts from the GNU GPL as it pertains to code contributors and patent holders:

“A “contributor” is a copyright holder who authorizes use under this License of the Program or a work on which the Program is based. The work thus licensed is called the contributor's “contributor version”.”

“Each contributor grants you a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free patent license under the contributor's essential patent claims, to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import and otherwise run, modify and propagate the contents of its contributor version.”

posted by (2011-04-28 09:12:43)
No avatarwow that is crazy and utterly stupid

posted by (2011-04-28 13:23:03)
Brynn217 avatarWell The problem here is that GNU GPL does not cover open source code that isnt open and has never been paid for. The problem lies in the fact that whoever designed the Linux software package copied some of this guys code for their Kernal Operation. Its a sub-rountine that is common most likely.

Can't help that this guy got a patient for it tho. The only way to fight this is to overturn the patient. If its a small enough and common enough routinue that may be possible... just like a riff in a song, ever notice how Tom Petty's, Last Dance with Mary Jane and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Dani California are the same song with different lyrics? Tom Petty couldnt sue them because even tho the song itself is copyrighted, the chords are standard through the industry.

This follows true with most industries as well, whenever something is small and becomes a common practice with every person, the item usually is deamed a STANDARD of the industry and is thus not ownable by any one person. The best way for Google and the other to prove this is from other examples of the same code being used in a different process, something not using the Linux Kernal. Their Lawyers most likely didnt take this case seriously and had little to no fight.

posted by (2011-04-28 21:38:05)
kingtiger01 avataram i the only one remembering the fact that since the Linux Kernel is Community maintained they CANT sue a Corporation or Individual for Use. They would have to sue the Contributor?

Since were talking GPL-V2, and its a NO-FAULT case. as a company can claim via the Licensing, that they were "Unaware"...

What it REALLY boils down to, is they want a piece of a the Android Market, A piece of the Cloud Market and a Piece of Google's Overall Profits.

I say sue THEM for Patent Creativity Violations. Why was the Code Public available if its not using a open Licence?

Here's a even BETTER question, When was the code first used. Was it PRIOR to the Patent Creation.

If it was, the Patent was Claimed FALSELY as it was GPL licensed!

posted by Blocked (2011-04-29 01:36:47)
menahunie avatarKingtiger01 - you're correct.
The only thing I can figure is if I write an app for Linux and it is say a word processor like the Fantastic FREE Star Office - THAT is where I can only copyright it and charge for it.
If I write an app the goes into the Linux Kernal then I can't charge for it or copyright it according to the GNU/GPL?

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