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[News] NetApp Suit Proves a Broken Patent System

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NetApp's Point of View on the Sun Litigation - An Update

,----[ Quote ]
| I vote for a new system, frankly. This one, as the NetApp-Sun litigation is 
| just the most recent proof, is seriously broken. 


Current Status of the Sun/NetApp Patent Lawsuit

,----[ Quote ]
| The patent office currently has a backlog of 730,000 patents, and they can’t 
| hire fast enough to close the gap. Waiting could take years. The legal system 
| isn’t always fast, but it can be. When NetApp agreed to relocate the case to 
| California, we did it on the condition that we’d get to trial relatively 
| quickly.     



Sun picks away at NetApp's patent claims

,----[ Quote ]
| The war-of-words between Sun Microsystems and NetApp over patent infringement
| claims wages on, while legal means to settle the matter have failed.
| The two companies tried to sit down this week for a settlement conference,
| but judging by Sun's response of publicly boasting that it has removed at
| least one of NetApp's patents from the litigation and declaring the legal
| scuffle a war between ideologies — we'd say the mediation wasn't entirely a
| success.


Sun fires another shot at NetApp

,----[ Quote ]
| But perhaps the harshest accusation Sun leveled against NetApp in its latest
| filing came in the opening paragraph of the suit. Chiding NetApp for only
| spending about $390 million on research and development last year and for
| holding “only approximately 200″ patents, Sun declared: “Indeed, rather than
| innovate, NetApp builds on the innovation of others” and “NetApp … uses
| extensive amounts of open source code developed by others, without
| contributing any innovation of its own.”


Update on the Sun/NetApp ZFS patent litigation

,----[ Quote ]
| I received this update from Sun Microsystems on Tuesday on the ongoing ZFS
| patent litigation with NetApp. While colored by its source, the news seems
| positive for Sun (and, given the importance of ZFS, for the open-source
| development community). Sun has succeeded in getting the venue changed to
| California and it appears that its public request for examples of prior art
| have yielded fruit.    



Sun plans to countersue NetApp

,----[ Quote ]
| Consequently, "Later this week, we're going to use our defensive portfolio to
| respond to Network Appliance, filing a comprehensive reciprocal suit. As a
| part of this suit, we are requesting a permanent injunction to remove all of
| their filer products from the marketplace, and are examining the original NFS
| license--on which Network Appliance was started," Schwartz said.    


ZFS Puts Net App Viability at Risk?


NetApp/Sun lawsuit seen as open-source test case

,----[ Quote ]
| NetApp contends that Sun's ZFS file system technology, which was donated to
| the OpenSolaris.org open-source community earlier this year, infringes on
| seven NetApp patents.  


Sun calls NetApp's blog bluff...with open source...in a blog

,----[ Quote ]
| I know nothing about the validity of either side's patent claims. Only a
| judge (or, more likely, a settlement) will elucidate either claim. But I have
| watched Microsoft respond to open source with patent FUD, and I'm willing to
| believe that others will fight back in this same way. I don't know that
| NetApp is--Hitz argues pretty persuasively that there were other reasons
| involved--but I do believe that any company that relies on an old way of
| selling its software needs to respond to the open-source threat.      
| Patent suits are one way to do that. An ugly, and ultimately futile way, but
| a way nonetheless.


NetApp + Sun = legal havoc

,----[ Quote ]
| Now, this is enough to me. I don't fucking care who is infringing whose
| patents. It's more and more clear that patents (all kind of patents!) don't
| do anything to the benefit of the public. They're not good for the humanity
| at large, but only to lawyers.  
| And when you see how two major IT actors are trying to make money from
| lawsuits instead of making profit from the technologies they're supposed to
| develop, you have all the rights in the world to think that the current
| Establishment is broken.  
| Because it is broken. You can see it every day with U.S.-based companies.


A few thoughts on Sun and NetApp

,----[ Quote ]
| According to Raven Zachary at the451 Group, “Hitz told me that this case is
| about NetApp and Sun, not the open source community that has emerged around
| ZFS, and NetApp does not intend to go after the ZFS community.”  
| Until it does so (if it ever does so), to paint its legal claims as an attack
| on open source seems to be to be unfair.


ZFS on Linux: It's alive

,----[ Quote ]
| The project is working, with several users running and even booting from a
| ZFS volume. Correia has not undertaken any performance tuning yet, and
| one sysadmin, Chris Samuel, has posted benchmarks that clock only about
| half the speed of another Linux filesystem, XFS.


Linux: ZFS, Licenses and Patents

,----[ Quote ]
| A recent discussion on the lkml examined the possibility of a
| Linux implementation of Sun's ZFS. It was pointed out that the
| file system is released under the GPL-incompatible CDDL, and
| that Sun has filed numerous patents to prevent ZFS from being
| reverse engineered.


Sun's Schwartz: High-Performance Computing Will Be Pervasive

,----[ Quote ]
| Schwartz said that Sun will continue to ramp up development efforts in its
| storage sector, centering on the Thumper X4500 server—a 48-drive unit with a
| capacity of 24TB per box.  
| "Thumper utilizes the ZFS," Schwartz said, "and we'll be taking the message
| out to the open-source community more and more as time goes on. In fact,
| we've seen the open-source community grow and accelerate its activity. That's
| where the future of development lies."    


Sun's Chief Open Source Officer Talks Patents

,----[ Quote ]
| The open-source community is very vocal about software patents.
| Sun owns lots of them. Isn't that a contradiction for Sun to
| claim to be an open-source community member yet own software patents?
| Not at all. Most companies engaging in free and open-source
| software hold software patents?even Red Hat. If you neglect
| patent filing, you risk various perils including others filing
| for patents on the same ideas and being unable to trade
| portfolios when an aggressor comes calling. What matters is
| not whether you hold them but what you do with them.

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