back to article Hell hath GNOME fury: Linux desktop org swings ax at patent troll's infringement claim

After being hit with a patent-infringement lawsuit last month, the GNOME Foundation has fired back with a counterclaim – and urged the courts to dismiss the case. In a memo this week, the non-profit org said Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPI) – a patent assertion entity (PAE) it characterizes as a "patent troll" – had filed an …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A money-grubbing Rothschild?

    I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you!

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: A money-grubbing Rothschild?

      The actual Rothschilds had no need to grub money like this. And they were British patriots.

      This guy...he seems to have links to the Bush family, but I cannot find his "Rothschild Family Foundation" on the actual Rothschild family website.

      1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

        Re: A money-grubbing Rothschild?

        "The actual Rothschilds had no need to grub money like this."

        True - they had already made a fair bit from slavery, both financing its operation and financing its abolition. That's pretty grubby even for a banker.

        1. The Indomitable Gall

          Re: A money-grubbing Rothschild?

          " both financing its operation and financing its abolition. "

          Well, there is the question of morality vs pragmatism. If the world's run by slaves, conscientious object costs money that might render you uncompetitive. Then eventually you get the chance to do something about it.

          Or maybe it's just that families are made up of different people with different views.

      2. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: A money-grubbing Rothschild?

        And Austrian patriots, and French patriots, and German patriots, and Neapolitan patriots...

        To quote the sceptical Kaiser Francis the Second,

        A Patriot for Me ?

        1. Benson's Cycle

          Re: A money-grubbing Rothschild?

          European patriots. The best kind.

  2. JohnFen Silver badge

    I'll have to donate

    I don't use (or like) Gnome, but I fully support their efforts here and will be kicking them a few bucks.

    1. Portent

      Re: I'll have to donate

      Same. Not a gnome user but will be donating. Strength in numbers. Supporting FOSS.

      1. chuckufarley

        Re: I'll have to bet a dollar...

        ...that even if someone doesn't use Gnome (or even Linux) that they still use GTK at least once a week.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: I'll have to bet a dollar...

          ...that even if someone doesn't use Gnome (or even Linux) that they still use GTK at least once a week.

          Unfortunately, yes. Much rather be using Qt in each of those cases, were it possible.

          1. _LC_ Bronze badge
            Alert

            Re: I'll have to bet a dollar...

            Coming from a C++ programmer: GTK(mm) sucks, but Qt is bogus as hell.

            1. DCFusor Silver badge

              Re: I'll have to bet a dollar...

              From a guy who also does perl - GTK is what there is that works right (using Glade to design the GUI).

              1. _LC_ Bronze badge

                Re: I'll have to bet a dollar...

                It works. However, it sucks to program with it. Try to distribute an application, for instance. Static linking is still considered Voodoo among Gtk developers. Usually, they ship their programs with half the Linux paths as subfolders on Windows.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: I'll have to bet a dollar...

          I try to avoid applications that use GTK, but you're right -- there are a few that I use.

    2. Garymrrsn
      Pint

      Re: I'll have to donate

      Looks like a worthy band wagon. I,ll jump on also.

      Here's to supporting a good cause!

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: I'll have to donate

      Tossing in a few bucks from Sonoma ... We don't use Gnome, and probably never will, but as noted above GTK is in use in places around here.

    4. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: I'll have to donate

      Same here, and already donated. This attack on Free Software need to be defeated.

    5. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'll have to donate

      Donated.

      Middle finger to patent trolls.

    6. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: I'll have to donate

      Same here. Haven't been a fan of Gnome's tendency to dumb-down everything (see this prototype of the Gnome4 Desktop) but at least can appreciate their commitment to Open Source.

      I expect one reason the offered settlement was a "low" figure was to lure Gnome into settling, thereby establishing a precedent, and making their bullshit patent seem to have an air of legitimacy. You know, like the way Microsoft established an air of legitimacy around *THEIR* bullshit Android patent-trolling.

    7. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Re: I'll have to donate

      I support them doing this because each dollar going to fighting patent trolls is one less dollar towards infecting their desktop environment with more systemd effluence, or spreading the infection to other software.

      I support going after patent trolls anyway, this other bit is just icing on the cake.

  3. mevets

    Gnu Troll Killing Crusade.

    I think M Stallman could be a great mascot for this. Add a deep Scottish brogue to his bewildering attempts to communicate, and a fierce knight emerges.

    1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Gnu Troll Killing Crusade.

      TKINTK

      (Troll Killer Is Not a Troll Killer)

  4. yiorgos

    Although a KDE user, I had to donate for that

  5. Oengus Silver badge

    Gnome vs Troll

    Tolkien's "Gnomes" are generally tall, beautiful, dark-haired, light-skinned, immortal, and typically wise but suffer from pride, tend towards violence, and have an overweening love of the works of their own hands, from Gnome Wiki

    in Tolkien's writings they are portrayed as cruel and stupid, with crude habits, although still intelligent enough to communicate with a known language. from Troll Wiki

    I am glad to see Gnome taking a stand. I think if more businesses and entities stood against these trolls their business model (which seems close to extortion) would collapse. Time to direct some funds to Gnome to assist their stand. I only hope that this doesn't become a lawyers picnic.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Gnome vs Troll

      Gnome must Roll 8+ on a d20 to successfully avoid the trolls club and insert his shortsword+3 into part of the troll where he really doesn't want to get it back from.

    2. Zolko

      Re: Gnome vs Troll

      "Gnomes" are generally tall, beautiful, dark-haired, light-skinned, immortal, and typically wise

      Those are Elves. Gnomes are small and dirty.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gnome vs Troll

        Tolkien's gnomes *are* elves. If I recall correctly, 'gnomes' was an early name for what later became the Noldorin elves.

      2. nematoad Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Gnome vs Troll

        "Those are Elves. Gnomes are small and dirty."

        It depends on which author uses the name "gnome". Tolkein being a philologist and professor of language knew that gnome originally meant one who has knowledge probably from the Greek "gnṓmē".

        Tolkein used gnome as an early name for the Noldor as they were always searching for knowledge and new ways of working. Fëanor was the most accomplished of the Gnomes and I would not have described him as "small and dirty". Or at least, not to his face!

        Other authors of course depict gnomes in other ways.

        1. Antonius_Prime

          Other authors of course depict gnomes in other ways.

          Ofc, lets not forget that the late, great Sir PTerry described Gnomes as the sober, clean living relatives of Pictsies like the Nac Mac Feegle...

          Who were thrown out of Fairyland for being Drunk and Disorderly.

          And when a clan of Feegles lives near your farm, expect livestock to move quite quickly without moving their legs. Quite often backwards...

          "There can be anly wan thuuusssaaand! Ey Wally!"

    3. MacroRodent Silver badge

      Re: Gnome vs Troll

      The confusion here is that Tolkien originally called one tribe of the Eldar "gnomes". This appears only in some of the posthumously published early texts. In later writing they are called the Noldor. Probably a good idea, gnomes would have given people the wrong idea about this sub-set of the Elves.

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Gnome vs Troll

        "Probably a good idea, gnomes would have given people the wrong idea about this sub-set of the Elves."

        Other way around most likely. A huge amount of the modern understanding of such terms comes directly from Tolkien (often filtered through D&D and similar). Elves, goblins, trolls, and such have traditionally described very different beings from the modern high fantasy versions, with huge variety in what they actually mean as well as plenty of overlap between them - there really wasn't any clear and consistent distinction between an elf, a goblin and a gnome once you go back before Tolkien. So if Tolkien had stuck to calling some of his elves gnomes, it's more than likely that people today would understand exactly what he meant because that's what the word "gnome" would have come to mean. It's only because he didn't write about gnomes at all in his published works that we instead have Dragonlance/Warcraft-style gnomes as the popular view.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Gnome vs Troll

      Isn't it about time someone took Tolkein to task for nicking all these public domain imaginary creatures? Got t be a few bob in that somewhere.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Gnome vs Troll

        You want the public domain to sue Tolkien's estate? What a tro… I see what you did. :-)

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Gnome vs Troll

          Is this related to the Gnome At Home?

          Icon - For a Laughing Gnome & links posted for the young pups.

          https://www.viewdata.org.uk/index.php?cat=31_The-nbsp~Gnome&page=05_Introduction

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Oet1pKb0Vo

  6. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Apparently Leigh thinks he owns the internet...

    Federal Circuit Hits Stupid Patent Owner With Fee Award

    Overturning a contrary decision by the patent-friendly Eastern District of Texas, the appellate court required a notorious patent troll practicing this model to pay the defendant’s attorney’s fees. The lower court had given the troll a pass because it dismissed its case early (which would give impunity to any troll that runs away when the defendant fights back). This week’s decision is an important win for victims of abusive litigation.

    The patent troll in question is Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations LLC (RCDI). RCDI’s patent on an Internet-connected drink mixer is so stupid we awarded it our August 2015 Stupid Patent of the Month. As we explained in that post, RCDI’s patent not only claimed an obvious idea, but had been expanded so broadly that it effectively covered any kind of remote updating over the Internet.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Now if that drinks mixer could actually mix a Pangalactic Gargle Blaster, the ruling might have been different

      Icon, because, well, that's what a Pangalactic Gargle Blaster feels like the day after

    2. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
      Joke

      I do believe our very own BOFH had something to say on a topic very like this one:

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/03/09/bofh_protecting_bodily_waste/

    3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Thanks for the link. The EFFs "stupid patent of the month" blog is now going to be on my regular reading list. Some of them are hilarious.

  7. chuckufarley
    Mushroom

    OK, so who wants to give odds...

    ...on the group of free software zealots so dedicated to their cause that they have spent years coding dozens of different projects just to give all of them away for free versus the group of people so enamored with the idea of making a quick buck that they refuse to do any real work?

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Echoes of Koom Valley

    but with gnomes rather than dwarves

    I'll get me coat. The one with "Thud" in the pocket please

    1. MJB7 Silver badge

      Re: Echoes of Koom Valley

      Except that the whole point of Koom Valley was that there weren't any good guys or bad guys - just a whole bunch of people who managed to realize that the other side weren't bad guys.

      Here however, I think there very clearly *are* good guys and bad guys (and it isn't GNOME who are the bad guys).

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        Re: Echoes of Koom Valley

        Totally agree

      2. ibmalone Silver badge

        Re: Echoes of Koom Valley

        But failed to have adequate flood defences.

      3. Benson's Cycle

        Re: Echoes of Koom Valley

        Pratchett, of course, manages to write a satire on Tolkien's unthinking racism in Unseen Academicals. That book needs to be on school reading courses as a useful counterbalance to Tolkien.

  9. simpfeld

    Have Big Players Contributed?

    Given Red Hat, Ubuntu and Google (Chrome(books)) all use Gnome technology, shouldn't they fully fund this defence. It should be small change to this collection of companies.

    1. Dedobot

      Re: Have Big Players Contributed?

      We can add Oracle to the list. Solaris- desktop package is based at Gnome3 :)

    2. Antonius_Prime

      Re: Have Big Players Contributed?

      I'd imagine that they're taking a "wait and see..." stance.

      And for those playing the home game, the missing part of the sentence was ".. what way the legal wind blows.."

  10. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    hope the troll get trolled with a forever rickroll

  11. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

    Fake Gnome

    That axe-wielding fellow in the picture at the top of the article is surely a Dwarf, not a Gnome?

    Or at the very least, of mixed parentage!

    1. STOP_FORTH
      Trollface

      Re: Fake Gnome

      Count his toes.

      1. j.bourne

        Re: Fake Gnome

        Because he can't? (being an inumerate gnome?)

  12. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    ...and argues that RPI should pay its legal fees.

    That should be enshrined in law. Sue using a patent that fails to stand up to scrutiny in court? Pick up all the costs.

    1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change
      Pirate

      Doesn't necessarily help.

      RIM eventually invalidated NTP's patents. In the meantime, they paid billions just to be allowed to continue to do business in the US rather than suffer Huawei's predicament. And of course[1] the trauma turned them into a lawyer-dominated company no longer able to innovate and crushed by the rise of Apple and Android.

      Good old-fashioned piracy: pay up or cease trading!

      [1] Erm, well, actually that's me speculating and probably rather less than accurate.

  13. Mattmattic

    What's the betting that the link to the famed "Rothschild" name is spurious at best or entirely non-existent?

    Rather like Fred Sony, Alvin Panasonic or Glen General-Motors?

    1. Major Page Fault

      That's General Glen Motors, obviously. He served shortly after General Thomas Electric.

    2. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      Sometimes people use their real names. As in the story of Mike Rowe Soft, which I think was reported on El Reg.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      FAIL

      Can't compete with J. Hutton Pulitzer (who is neither a Hutton, nor a Pulitzer).

      Look him up, and be prepared to be amazed...

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Look him up, and be prepared to be amazed...

        I did. I am (if not positively boggled). I wonder when he'll run for US President.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Ah, yes. J. Jovan Philyaw, the inventor of the CueCat.

        Amazed isn't quite the word I would use. Appalled works, though.

  14. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    While I wish the GNOME Foundation every success, I can't help wondering whether FOSS gives them a hidden strength.

    If they win, the unspeakable RPI picks up the costs, and its patent is weakened or invalidated.

    If they lose, and there is a massive award plus costs against them, they can fork the project and dissolve the foundation. I've no idea what sort of corporate entity the foundation is, and what guarantees underpin it, but there's no question that its principle asset is in the public domain.

  15. nichomach

    "We want to send a message to all software patent trolls out there — we will fight your suit, we will win, and we will have your patent invalidated," they said in Liam Neeson's voice...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "We want to send a message to all software patent trolls out there — we will fight your suit, we will win, and we will have your patent invalidated," they said in Wee Mad Arthur's voice...

      FTFY

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Problem is, that even if this patent is invalidated, these NPEs are fundamentally lawyers in search of patents which they can "monetize". The system encourages this, because patents are assumed to be valid unless someone petitions for re-evaluation, which is neither cheap nor quick.

      Meanwhile, people keep getting letters. tSCOg ran this scam for years, though I doubt it was ever profitable. But they do get marks for dogged persistence in the face of overwhelming ridicule. Marks deducted, however, for failing to remain in existence.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Yes, the US patent system is pretty much completely broken, and is achieving the exact opposite of its intended purpose.

        1. Benson's Cycle

          The Chinese think it's working pretty well.

  16. khjohansen

    Ten Beeellion Dollars

    They got off easy - should there be a law against running a business based ENTIRELY on running (baseless) lawsuits ??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ten Beeellion Dollars

      "should there be a law against running a business based ENTIRELY on running (baseless) lawsuits ??"

      I think there should, but then, again, were I not anon, I'd be sued to no end by the US federation of lawyers !

      And the company's name is priceless, really: "Rothschild Patent Imaging" !

      So, do I understand their business is not about image, muffins or anything else, but PATENTS. Only.

      How uncool and wrong is that ?

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Ten Beeellion Dollars

        I think there should, but then, again, were I not anon, I'd be sued to no end by the US federation of lawyers !

        Oh, please. Even as hyperbole that's completely inane.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Ten Beeellion Dollars

        "And the company's name is priceless, really: "Rothschild Patent Imaging" !

        So, do I understand their business is not about image, muffins or anything else, but PATENTS. Only."

        As a layman travelling on the Clapham Omnibus, I would assume from the name that they spend their days scanning in paper patent forms.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Ten Beeellion Dollars

      As I have already said numerous times, there is a simple solution to patent trolls : tie the amount of damages awarded to the sales made by the owner of the patent.

      You sell nothing ? You get nothing.

      That would kill patent trolls right from the start.

      1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: Ten Beeellion Dollars

        Patent trolls do sell something: Licenses of their "Intellectual Property" to people that they have sued for patent infringement. The basic procedure is sue a company for something that technically infringes the troll's patent and the victim cannot easily replace, and then as part of the settlement, the troll offers 'reasonable terms' to license the infringing patent.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Ten Beeellion Dollars

          "sue a company for something that technically infringes the troll's patent"

          They often sue for things that don't technically infringe their patents as well.

  17. bpfh Silver badge
    Devil

    Wireless transmission of photos?

    From the patent in 2018:

    "A system and method for distributing at least one digital photographic image is presented, the system and method comprising at least one capturing device and at least one receiving device disposed in a communicative relation with one another via at least one wireless network"

    My Laptop with webcam was doing this over wifi to an image processing server in a datacentre for a now defunct photo processing company in 2003. and anyone with a cameraphone was able to do this (via mms) since for me 2005. I call bullshit prior art and wish to claim my 125000 doll-hairs.

    1. A K Stiles
      Pint

      Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

      What 'AvE we come to when stuff like this can get patented? People are monsters!

    2. EnviableOne Bronze badge
      Pint

      Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

      i believe an image of a coffepot is in order

      https://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/coffee/coffee.html

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

      There was video, image and voice streaming commonly in use well before 2000 and the Internet has been distributing digital images to receiving devices for years before that.

      Patents on existing technology should by definition not exist, that they do proves that the system is broken.

      For my part I always thought that the issuing body should be paying any legal costs due to their lack of dilligence if this is ever to stop..

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

        There was video, image and voice streaming commonly in use well before 2000 and the Internet has been distributing digital images to receiving devices for years before that.

        That's not directly relevant to the '086 patent, which (like any patent) makes specific claims about its "invention". I've looked at '086 and I think it's bogus, but the existence of image streaming prior to 2008 (the prior-art deadline for '086, due to continuations) does not in itself invalidate the patent.

        For my part I always thought that the issuing body should be paying any legal costs due to their lack of dilligence

        The USPTO performs the diligence that they're required to under law, international agreements, and the parameters established by the USPTO's Executive Committee and the Department of Commerce. In recent years the USPTO has rejected about half of all patent applications; the statistics are available on the USPTO website. If you don't like how the USPTO reviews patent applications, Congress is the place to start.

        Penalizing the USPTO, even if it could be done (without explicit legislation it would likely fall foul of sovereign immunity), would just be a draw on Commerce's budget. Since the USPTO is a profit center, it would take a lot of penalties to put any significant economic pressure on Commerce.

        Many commentators here on the Reg have simple quick-fix solutions for IP problems. As is usually the case, these are not just simple but simplistic. Complicated problems rarely have acceptable simple solutions.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

          "Congress is the place to start."

          Sadly, this is correct. Particularly because it was congressional action that made the current patent system into the debacle that it is.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

      My Laptop with webcam was doing this over wifi to an image processing server in a datacentre for a now defunct photo processing company in 2003. and anyone with a cameraphone was able to do this (via mms) since for me 2005. I call bullshit prior art and wish to claim my 125000 doll-hairs.

      As is usual in these cases, the '086 patent was filed as part of a chain of "continuation patents", which pushes back the deadline for prior art. In the case of the '086 patent, though, Rothschild only managed to chain continuations back to 2008 (US patent 8,204,437), so finding applicable prior art should be pretty easy.

      The distinguishing feature (such as it is) of the primary claims in '086 appears to be the notion that this would be a sort of peer-to-peer sharing of image files, possibly with some filtering, so that for example I'd take a photo and it would automatically be transferred to a device used by some friend or family member. I can't think of a specific example of that particular function from before 2008, but this isn't an area I'm especially interested in, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if there is one. And I don't know how that distinguishing feature applies to GNOME Shotwell, either.

      Certainly various phone photo apps have had the capability to automatically upload images to backup sites and photo-sharing sites for a while. It's possible RPI would argue that's outside the claims of '086, as it distinguishes the claimed "invention" from uploading to photo-sharing sites in the initial state-of-the-art section; but it does so on the grounds of manual intervention, so automatic uploads might be considered prior art, assuming there were such apps prior to 2008.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

        "I can't think of a specific example of that particular function from before 2008"

        Tresidder Union, Stanford, late 1976 or early 1977ish. CROMEMCO Cyclops camera "focused" on the coke machine. When the door was opened & closed a microswitch tripped and notified a computer (IMSAI? MITS? Heath? I can't remember. Something cheap & cheerful.). The computer waited a minute and then took a picture of the coke machine. This was to see if the "out of soda" LEDs were still lit under your cold fizzy of choice[0]. This image was sent automatically via FTP (over NCP, TCP/IP was still in the process of being invented) to every FTP host on the list. Seemed a no-brainer at the time, hardly even worthy of being called a "hack". If you knew how, you could request an update at any time. This photo would only be sent to the FTP space of the requester.

        It didn't work worth a shit, because the resolution was so low. Once in a while, if you aligned it just right, you could see if an LED (or two) was on, meaning there was no soda in that slot. If the LED went out, the slot had been refilled ... or something had jiggled the camera. It was up to the user to figure out how to get their particular FTP host to notify them that an image was waiting.

        One of the hosts was in SRI's Cellular Packet Radio Van, so the images were transmitted wirelessly on at least a small handful of occasions.

        I've used electronic cameras to automatically send me pictures, as needed, ever since. What do you think a remotely viewable security camera does, anyway?

        [0] Dr. Pepper was a favorite of the grad students at the time, and was nearly always sold out. When the camera reported it had been refilled there was a mad dash for the machine ... so I guess the silly kludge worked. It was only operational for a couple weeks.

        1. bsudbrink

          Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

          Yes, low resolution, combined with the fact that the DRAM cells (used as the image sensor) are more sensitive to some wavelengths of than others. A number of "neat tricks" with mirrors, servos, lenses and dynamic focus were tried. If you are still interested in the Cyclops, you might want to look here:

          http://wsudbrink.dyndns.org:8080/cyclops/index.html

    5. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Re: Wireless transmission of photos?

      I think there is even earlier prior art in the form of broadcast and satellite television. A video is just a series of discrete photographic images captured and displayed at rates between 24 and 60 per second.

  18. Archtech Silver badge

    So IP is protected by the state - but only if the owner is very rich

    "Said offered settlement appears to be about 20 times less than the typical cost of dealing with a patent claim".

    The settlement was described as "high five-figure" - say about $80,000.

    Twenty times $80,000 is $1.6 million.

    If that is the typical cost of dealing with a patent claim, the USA has a system of patent law that protects only those individuals and organizations that can afford to pay out $1.6 million without blinking - possibly many times, too.

    What that amounts to is a system of IP protection that is available only to the wealthy.

    Wouldn't it be nice if justice were offered to everyone, rather than being an expensive luxury like a personal jet or a private island?

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: So IP is protected by the state - but only if the owner is very rich

      You'll be wanting the French Revolution next. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. (The "equality" means fair laws).

      Actually isn't it about time the US had an internal revolution?

  19. TVU

    "Hell hath GNOME fury: Linux desktop org swings ax at patent troll's infringement claim"

    ^ That's excellent news and I hope that they also succeed like Netgear and Slomin's. In the meantime, if anyone wants to help defeat these patent troll scumbags, voluntary donations are now welcomed at the official GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund.

  20. kurkosdr

    If everyone was doing this, patent trolls wouldn't exist. The fear of the patent troll is that someone will go to court and invalidate their patent, and then the parent troll won't be able to assert it against anyone. Even Microsoft show some of their VFAT patents (long a boogeyman Microsoft used to assert against everyone) get invalidated in court, and these software patents had more validity in them than the vast majority of software patents the trolls hold.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      If everyone was doing this, patent trolls wouldn't exist

      Unlikely. Many suspect patents have been upheld in court, so there's still a good economic bet to be made by NPEs. If one loses too many cases, it can just go bankrupt and be reformed as a new entity by the same principals.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I only hope

    this doesn't end up like SCO

    1. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      Re: I only hope

      Why, don't you like a good scoap opera? Talking of which, has HP/Autonomy gone quiet?

      You'll recollect that while SCO was about Linux and Unix heritage, the battle was fought by deep-pocketed bigcos. It's entirely possible Gnome will get (or already has) some big corporate backers in this case.

  22. RegGuy1

    Gnome 3 has some value?

    Fuck off -- you're taking the piss.

  23. LeahroyNake Silver badge

    I prefer

    Nomes brought to us from the mind of Terry Pratchett.

    They wouldn't stand for these trolls either.

  24. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    2012 filing

    The patent troll is so lazy that it took over 10 years to file the patent after such software had become commonplace and bundled with digital cameras.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: 2012 filing

      Had it? In 2001 or earlier there was "commonplace" software which met precisely the primary claims of the '086 patent?

      Look, I think '086 is a bogus patent. But it does claim a specific "invention", not just "hey, what about transmitting images?". Lots of commentators are throwing around prior-art claims, but few to none are citing specific examples of specific implementations of the specific claims in the patent. And that's how patents work; they're not overturned based on handwaving generalizations.

      Criticize harder, in other words.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: 2012 filing

        I've read the claims in the patent, but I have to admit that I can't figure out what they're actually claiming with any degree of confidence. Can you help me with this?

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: 2012 filing

        >But it does claim a specific "invention"

        So easy just need RFI to evidence that they did actually have an invention at the time of first filing. ie. a physical manifestation of their 'system and method'. No physical manifestation, fail the patent invention criteria. Now we are talking about fraud...

        Not sure why you are getting hung up about 2001, given the first patent application in the chain was made in 2008, by which time it was possible to distribute photos via social media.

        However, what is clear from the '086 patent is that it is a "system and method for the distribution of photographic image" whereas Shotwell is an "image organizer designed to provide personal photo management", so totally different.

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