12 October 2007

Behold: Son of SCO

Well, that nice Mr. Ballmer did warn us, and here it is:

Plaintiffs, IP Innovation L.L.C. and Technology Licensing Corporation (collectively “Plaintiffs”) complain of defendants Red Hat Inc. (“Red Hat”) and Novell Inc. (“Novell”) as follows:

1. This is a claim for patent infringement arising under the patent laws of the United States, Title 35 of the United States Code.

Of course, this is replete with ironies.

First, "IP Innovation" - as in, zero innovation. These are patent trolls, and the patent - which looks like basic windowing technology - is both obvious and probably covered by prior art.

Secondly, poor old Novell: they probably thought they were immune to this kind of thing. But their deal with Microsoft says nothing about not getting sued by trolls. Or rather, trolls with interesting connections to Microsoft:

So in July one Microsoft executive arrives [at IP Innovation]; then as of October 1, there is the second, a patent guy. October 9, IP Innovation, a subsidiary, sues Red Hat. And Novell. So much for being Microsoft's little buddy.

The good news is that this is all too late: even in the US, a modicum of sanity is returning to patents as the US Supreme Court begins to rein in some of the excesses that have spawned in the last decade. The other good news is that Microsoft will come out of this looking bad, again. However much they huff and puff, the clear link back to them shows them not only to be underhand, but cowards, too.

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