The ongoing intellectual property cold war between Microsoft and Linux just got a lot hotter it seems. Strange that this should happen only a few days after Steve Balmer the Microsoft CEO publicly reminded Red Hat users that they should pay up or else. Legal action has now been taken against Red Hat and Novell for the infringement of 3 different patents originally awarded to Xerox.
IP Innovation LLC and Technology Licensing Corporation has filed a suit against the two Linux vendors for patent violation and it seems this thing is finally real, at least some of it is anyway. We can only wait and see if Ballmer’s prediction of 240-odd patent infringements is true but this all seems a little fishy. I know this is a complete conspiracy theory and probably something for the tin foil hat crowd but bare with me on this.
IP innovations is owned by a company called Acacia Research who appointed former Microsoft man Jonathan Taub as vice-president. Following that on the 1st of October they also appointed another senior vice president in the shape of Brad Brunell, he also worked at Microsoft for 16 years, most recently as general manager of Intellectual Property Licensing. Make of that what you will but it leads me to think that this could be the new SCO. It hasn’t been long since everyone Microsoft hand puppet SCO lost their landmark cases to try and claim damages for the misuse of Unix within Linux and other platforms.
If Microsoft is behind this then where does that leave the indemnity deal they made with Novell not long ago? I suppose as long as Microsoft’s name isn’t on the plaintiff form it isn’t worth a thing.
A PDF of the actual legal complaint can be obtained here
So is this just Microsoft’s new SCO? It seems possible, you know one down and another one pops up, it’s like whack-a-mole arrggh!!! Something stinks around here and it’s not just Steve Ballmer’s pits, stay tuned for more developments.