[TriLUG] Patent Infringement Lawsuit Filed Against Red Hat & Novell - Just Like Ballmer Predicted

Tim Jowers timjowers at gmail.com
Fri Oct 12 14:06:14 EDT 2007

IANAL but here's what I can guess from looking at it:

Filing date*: Mar 25, 1987
*Issue date*: Dec 10, 1991

How long is the patent period? When would it expire? Mar 2007 or maybe Dec
Here's what googling showed:
Current law: 14 years for a design patent. 20 for others. From date of
application with a minimum of 17 from date of issue.
But actually 20 years from date of filing or 17 years from date of issue for
patents filed before 1995. So, why exactly are they even filing the lawsuit?
I guess they want to impede RHAT for a year and a few months? But maybe this
is a nuisance lawsuit since
1) RedHat doesn't make the UI
2) Probably the patent does not cover what Gnome and KDE actually do. Might
be the realm of a windows manger even?
3) They did not file the lawsuit against the manufacturers of product said
to infringe on their patent. AFAIK.
4) In 2005 I used a Windows XP computer to download Linux... does that mean
Microsoft infringed on the patent then? They have as much responsibility as
RedHat IMO.

Also, some flaws in the logic in the abstract and some non-matching
application (I suspect "different windows" of same application in more than
one workspace is not the same as one window in one workspace).

I'm following the Monopolysoft suing efforts after seeing the extremely
embarrassing patents the USPTO has granted to them (is-not, file splitting,
etc). For a company which supposedly hires 1/5 of all CompSci Ph.D.s they
might have a hard time defending their patent activities since this sorta
stuff was taught to me in my first Engr classes about 2 decades ago and
taught to many people in the early 1980's! I can only guess their staff knew
full well the patents they were filing were for existing techniques. This
begs the question if Monopolysoft was willingly trying to manipulate the
patent system? Clearly the USPTO acted irresponsibly in granting such

   I suspect a countersuit against Monopolysoft will be worth Billions to
RHAT. I can imagine dragging in some old codger professor and asking them
"In 1985 (1990, 2000 etc) did you teach about comparing pointers?" Codger:
"yes". "What does is-not do?"  Codger: "compares pointers". "We call Person
1 and employee of Monopolysoft and former student of Codger to the stand.
Person 1, what grade did you receive in this class which taught you about
pointer comparison?"
-- http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/02/22/1310232

   Might even be able to wear them out by getting a very old copy of an
assembler code which compares pointers. Absolutely ridiculous patent IMO.
Would be funny to bring in some punch cards and say "This was common
practice 35 years before you even filed your patent!". :-)

   It is not inconceivable that a quorum of Linux and Open Source vendors
will aggregate into a class action lawsuit against Monopolysoft. The taste
of their own medicine could be a poison pill.

Anyone who's ever filed a patent can tell you the actual invention and
content mean zilch to the USPTO. It's a legal entity. All they care about is
the paperwork is right. The examiner will have little to zero knowledge of
the actual application and make little to no scientific analysis or
comparison to existing technologies or patents. It's all process and no
substance. But I've only every filed one. I'll never bother doing that again
I don't think. I've filed numerous anti-patents! :-)

  I can also imagine finding an ex-employee of the USPTO who will talk about
fast-tracking or whatever they call it which allows the large companies to
buy faster patent processing. Preferential treatment for a monopoly might be
frowned upon when the jury is made of people mostly earning less than the
median income! "This patent is supposedly worth "$100M; yet documents
something which existed 35 years prior. The USPTO normally takes 6 years to
process a patent application but processed yours in 2 years?"


On 10/12/07, Mike Shaw <mdshaw89 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Looks like a new battle has begun?
> http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071011205044141
> --
> "Darn bushes yowling at me again." - Old Man Wickles in Scooby Doo 2:
> Monsters Unleashed
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