Acacia denies patent claim is an attack on open source, denies any Microsoft role

Acacia denies patent claim is an attack on open source, denies any Microsoft role

Summary: Acacia Research Corp. on Friday released a statement to ZDNet's Open source Blog writers regarding the patent infringement case it filed against Red Hat and Novell on October 9.


Acacia Research Corp. on Friday released a statement to ZDNet's Open source Blog writers regarding the patent infringement case it filed against Red Hat and Novell on October 9.

In the statement, which appears below in its entirety, Acacia insists that its patent claim is not in any way an attack at open source software and vigorously denies that Microsoft has any role in it, directly or indirectly:

"Many inventors, whether individuals, small corporations, research institutes, universities or even large corporations, do not have the scale, expertise or experience to license their patent rights directly for products or services which might incorporate their inventions. These inventors partner with Acacia’s subsidiaries to generate a financial return for those inventions. The Acacia subsidiaries have successfully negotiated over 500 patent licensing agreements covering 25 different patented technologies."

"Since 1790, when the United States first passed the Patent Act, significant value has been created by invention, and that value enables the originators of, and the investors in, the inventions to be rewarded for their efforts and be able to reinvest in further invention. Acacia is proud of its role in helping to enable this cycle of innovation. "

With respect to the IP Innovation action with Red Hat and Novell, the patents in question pertain to Graphical User Interface technology that originated from early research efforts by Xerox-PARC. These same patents have been licensed to other technology manufacturers having products which feature a GUI. "

"IP Innovation is not attempting to inject itself in the ongoing philosophical debate of whether products or services which utilize Open Source are subject to the same intellectual property laws/behaviors as non-Open Source offerings. Acacia and its subsidiaries do not philosophically differentiate any company, but rather seek to consistently and fairly monetize patent rights from those companies which incorporate patented technology."

"Lastly, while we are happy that former Microsoft employees Brad Brunell and Jonathan Taub have joined our team, there is no connection to this “normal” business behavior of IP Innovation LLC, and the licensing activities with Open Source software providers. Microsoft, as they publicly stated, has no involvement with IP Innovation LLC, and Acacia and its subsidiaries are only aligned in the spirit that investment and research which yields patents should be economically rewarded."

Through a spokesman, Novell said it will vigorously defend its interests but it's too early at this stage to talk about specifics on this case.

Red Hat also declined to comment, and noted that it will address the issue in its next earnings filing.

How should Red Hat and Novell respond to claim? Please cast your vote on what the two Linux vendors should do.

[poll id=58]

Topics: Microsoft, Legal, Open Source, Security

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  • Patent bully?

    If you give a bully your lunch money on Monday, he will want you lunch money again on Wednesday, if not Tuesday.
    • After getting our behinds tromped repeatedly

      For the biggest part of a year by our
      (small) school bully who was a coupla years
      older and over a foot taller than anyone
      else in school, I made a coalition with one
      of my buddies. I jumped the bully from
      behind while he attacked him from the front.
      We took him down and beat the snot out of
      him. He turned out to be a good friend after

      Moral of story: The only way to settle with
      a bully is whip his a$$.
      Ole Man
  • Prior Art

    Clearly, Acacia didn't do a thorough search on 'prior art': [url=]FYI[/url]

    I don't get it. Is it me Folks? ;)
    D T Schmitz
  • Right! All a coincidence that after years, they hire 2 Microsoft

    executives and suddenly decide that Linux is violating their patents. But, if this is the best that MS can bring, it is pretty funny. And, the patents will most likely expire before the case is decided.
  • So who are they representing then?

    They clearly are acting in someones interests. Why not tell who? also who are the technology partners that they claim to have a $50 million line of credit with as stated here on their site

    Look near the bottom.

    I will be waiting for an answer.
    • You might have the wrong company

      The company owned by Acacia is IP Innovation LLC. The website you're pointing to is IP Innovation[b]s[/b] LLC. Those are two different companies.
      Tony Agudo
      • Your right

        Maybe they should sue each other.
    • weakness in play

      Must be some thing not so obvious here or this would have been done deal long ago? Perhaps an examination of larger issues may be revealing or why did this take so long for the "uninvolved parties" to push this forth at the end of a stick.
  • RE: Acacia denies patent claim is an attack on open source, denies any Micr

    They are using a 16 year old patent due to expire on December 10th of next year. It's a throw-away patent that they can afford to lose.

    I'd say they are just testing the waters to see if it will work against Linux.

    It's time for a divorce between software and patents.

  • Color me disgruntled: This is not something where my opinion matters at all

    I remember the first time that I knew I would never subscribe to a newspaper again. It was when they started putting polls on the front page around pop-culture items like whether or not OJ was guilty (this was before or maybe during the trial).

    Having an opinion on the matter of whether or not someone should settle a suit over alleged patent infringement without having all of the facts at issue and understanding the legal risk of one direction or another seems downright silly.

    And I wish that media would not pander in this way. This is not reality TV. And it is certainly not American Idol or whatever those things are (I don't own a television or have cable service either).

    Color me disgruntled.
  • Where is the keyboard alert?

    I've now lost yet another keyboard to a mouthful of liquid, just from reading the headline...
  • Credibility??

    This sequence of words from Acacia and their new *ex-Microsoft* executives could possibly be credible, but perhaps reviewing Bill Gate's interview in Dec 2006 (at the height of the SCO v.s. Linux/Novell battle) can provide some insight on whether to trust this repeated *third party who professes not to be associated with Microsoft but attacks Linux* scenario:

    Yes, Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, said he could not be bothered with little details like keeping track of SCO and its battle with Microsoft's major competitors, even after pumping $15 million into SCO in 2003 to fuel its attack on Linux. Direct quote: "I don't know anything about it. Is SCO still around? Are they still viable?"

    If you can trust anything that this company, its leaders, or its associates and *ex*-executives say after reading Bill's statements in this interview, you are a better (or at least more optimistic) person than I. Corruption starts from the top.