[Patent Lawsuit Filter] On Wednesday Sun Microsystems announced a counter suit against Network Appliance, wherein they will draw on their "defensive portfolio" which is "one of the largest patent arsenals on the internet". They are going to be requesting a permanent injunction to remove all of NetApp's filer products from the marketplace
, and also seeking monetary damages (half of which they've pledged to donate to the Software Freedom Law Center
and Peer to Patent Project
). Last month, NetApp sued Sun
for patent infringements in ZFS
. Earlier this month in Texas, the first ever patent infringement lawsuit against Linux distributors
The plaintiff in the case against Red Hat
is IP Innovation and Technology Licensing
, a company that successfully got some money from Apple with a similar claim
earlier this year. They're owned by Acacia Technologies
, a company with close ties to Microsoft, which has caused some to suggest that this suit might be more about spreading FUD
than about securing licensees for patents.
case is less clear-cut. In September, the founder of Network Appliance (Dave Hitz) announced on his blog that they were suing Sun for patent infringement, explaining that "Sun has been using its patent portfolio as a profit center. About 18 months ago, Sun’s lawyers contacted NetApp with a list of patents they say we infringe, and requested that we pay them lots of money.
" Sun's CEO (Jonathan Schwartz) replied on his blog, thanking NetApp for suing them and saying that "Sun did not approach NetApps about licensing any of Sun's patents and never filed complaints against NetApps or demanded anything.
" Dave replies that he is stunned by Jonathan's response, in a post titled "Sun Patent Team Demanded $36 Million From NetApp
". After this, their blogs went silent on the subject for a few weeks. Then, Jonathan announced the counter suit (the first link in the fpp), and Dave responded with two more
blog entries. Groklaw
has reason to believe Microsoft is also involved in this case.