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Google Ordered To Pay $5 Million in Linux Suit

By - Source: Foss Patents | B 24 comments

Google has violated a Linux-related patent and has to pay Bedrock Technologies $5 million in damages.

There was no information whether an injunction against Google will also be enforced. However, the plain payment isn’t so much the issue here: It is the implication on the entire Linux ecosystem U.S. Patent No. 5,893,120 may have, as it has been confirm as a valid patent by a court of law.

The patent is described as "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data" and appears to be relating especially to large Linux server installations. Google may only be the beginning and Bedrock could be in a very strong position to collect royalties across the industry. Foss Patents speculates that companies such as Red Hat may be in a dilemma here and in yet another situation where license payments need to be made.   

It is unclear how the average user or developer may be affected. Google's Android, conceivably the most popular form of Linux in the market today, could be affected - as well as applications that touch Bedrock's patent. Foss Patents notes that Google may not only have to change the code in the software running its own server farms, but possibly also infringing code in Android. Overall, the outcome of this patent suit as well as Google's reaction should shed some light on future legal battles Google will have to fight in order to defend its Android platform. According to Foss patents, there are currently 41 Android-related patent suits pending.     

Display 24 Comments.
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  • 0 Hide
    joytech22 , April 27, 2011 10:06 PM
    Couldn't Google buy the patent?

    Oh well, I doubt it will have any significant impact on us Android users.
  • 2 Hide
    dogman_1234 , April 27, 2011 10:07 PM
    Rollin, rollin, rollin...keep those lawsuits rollin...
  • 0 Hide
    aznpwned , April 27, 2011 10:09 PM
    And this is a large sum of money to Google?
  • 0 Hide
    Camikazi , April 27, 2011 10:23 PM
    aznpwnedAnd this is a large sum of money to Google?

    It isn't for Google, but what about the smaller companies that rely on Linux to power their servers? These guys might just go after everyone and that will hurt anyone who relies on Linuxs Open Source nature to survive.
  • 2 Hide
    burnley14 , April 27, 2011 10:24 PM
    In other news, Google sneezed and wiped its nose with $5 million.
  • 1 Hide
    knowom , April 27, 2011 10:54 PM
    otacon72I think I'll patent how to take a dump then charge everyone a license fee when they go to the bathroom.

    Simpsons did it in episode #1039483 "Bart takes a crap on broken patent system"
  • 0 Hide
    pelov , April 27, 2011 11:25 PM
    otacon72Thought Linux was open..lol


    It is, for the most part, but when a company is making money off of the code you developed then it's kinda not, right?
  • -1 Hide
    illo , April 27, 2011 11:31 PM
    You mean like apples whole OS is based off FREEBSD and they charge for it?

    so.....
  • -1 Hide
    deanjo , April 27, 2011 11:47 PM
    illoYou mean like apples whole OS is based off FREEBSD and they charge for it?so.....


    Completely two different licenses here. BSD is a "go ahead and use it if you can no matter who you are" license by choice. GPL on the other hand is a restrictive license that says "hey, you can use my code only if you agree on my terms and principals". Apple used the BSD code EXACTLY LIKE IT WAS LICENSED FOR. The original code is and always shall be free for anyone to use and modifications are left up to the modifier to decide if they wish to contribute back.
  • -1 Hide
    mlcaouette , April 27, 2011 11:57 PM
    I don't feel bad for Google cause 5 million to them is like a Penney that has been cut in half to me. I do fear what this will mean for all the Linux OS makers, you now the ones that don't make a butt-load of money off ads.
  • 0 Hide
    ProDigit10 , April 28, 2011 12:19 AM
    pelovIt is, for the most part, but when a company is making money off of the code you developed then it's kinda not, right?

    Android is supposed to be free, and google does not get money for the OS.
    So in that case, the company putting the lawsuit will have to give all the cash they get to the Linux community, or else they get sued for making money on a Linux OS too!
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , April 28, 2011 3:16 AM
    otacon72Thought Linux was open..lol

    It is. This company thinks that they have claim to some ideas/concepts within the code used in the Linux kernel. Neither the Free Software Foundation nor The Linux Foundation are suing Google here (and the FSF certainly would if there was even a hint of GPL violation).
  • 0 Hide
    eldesconocido , April 28, 2011 5:10 AM
    dogman_1234Rollin, rollin, rollin...keep those lawsuits rollin...


    USA... land and home of the lawsuits.
  • 1 Hide
    sadboyzz , April 28, 2011 5:44 AM
    This is ridiculous. This bedrock is just a typical patent troll. I hope some judge comes to his senses and gets this overturned.
  • 0 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , April 28, 2011 7:50 AM
    ok , google pay linux to help linux develop , AMD go on ARM , soon we will have ARM Linux desktop for gaming and everyday use ......
  • 0 Hide
    x3style , April 28, 2011 9:12 AM
    Next on the news: Google buys Bedrock Technologies for xxx$ and sues everyone else.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 28, 2011 10:14 AM
    I'm not too worried about this East Texas ruling. They have a reputation for siding with patent holders. The patent itself is almost ridiculous from a developer's POV, the process they are claiming a patent on is the data equivalent of throwing out the milk you noticed was expired in the fridge when you originally went there to get bread for a sandwich.

    The patent system is definitely broken, and at what point do we draw the line. An algorithm is an algorithm, and different individuals could very conceivably arrive at the same logical solution to a problem (Leibniz and Newton come to mind). It seems unrealistic to award ownership of an idea to whomever registered it, and then say that anyone else with the same idea now owes you money.
  • 0 Hide
    mrgreggie , April 28, 2011 1:31 PM
    deanjoCompletely two different licenses here. BSD is a "go ahead and use it if you can no matter who you are" license by choice. GPL on the other hand is a restrictive license that says "hey, you can use my code only if you agree on my terms and principals". Apple used the BSD code EXACTLY LIKE IT WAS LICENSED FOR. The original code is and always shall be free for anyone to use and modifications are left up to the modifier to decide if they wish to contribute back.


    Deanjo, the GPL is only "restrictive" in that it requires that the code and ALL derivative works remain open and FREE! Free dude. Software patents and software licenses are two different issues anyway.

  • 2 Hide
    mikem_90 , April 28, 2011 4:48 PM
    We NEED patent reform. Eliminate Software process patents that allow stupid crap like this.

    Can you imagine how many billions if not trillions would be saved if all American companies didn't have to deal with stupid crap like this? Maybe Microsoft's Crusade against Linux would be blunted. They pushed the SCO thing, there was talk that they said they had 50 such lawsuits waiting in the wings.

    Innovate, not litigate!
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 28, 2011 5:51 PM
    we can't patent english sentence structures.
    we can't patent mathematical formulae; and
    yet we can patent software algorithms ?
    this does not make sense.

    ELIMINATE SOFTWARE PATENTS IMMEDIATELY (RETROACTIVELY !) !!!!
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