back to article Dropbox joins Linux patent protection hit squad

A company launched to defend Linux on PCs and servers is turning its attention to venture-backed cloud startups and mobile. The Open Invention Network (OIN) has revealed Dropbox is its latest licensee, potentially shielding the cloud document-sharing service from patent attackers. OIN owns an artillery of patents covering …


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  1. Arctic fox

    A patent cooperative?

    Sounds dangerously communistic to me. What would "BigCorp" say?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: A patent cooperative?

      Communism ? Don't be silly it's the free market and we call it cartelism.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: A patent cooperative?

        It's more like highly enriched uranium. At some point people might fight over it and it could fall into the wrong hands.

        I fear in this world the appropriate use of long-ranged precision weaponry is still the best patent protection money can buy.

        1. theblackhand

          Re: A patent cooperative? @DAM

          "I fear in this world the appropriate use of long-ranged precision weaponry is still the best patent protection money can buy."

          Lawyer-seeking to avoid friendly fire?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony v Sony

    So Sony are in OIN but are also in Rockstar... that's could lead to some interesting situations.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sony v Sony

      Sony is attacking companies using Linux but they are not doing this with patents related to Linux.

      Same for Google and Oracle. They are both members of OIN but the fight between them is not related to Linux, it is about Java which is out of OIN coverage.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Should have told Larry to FO, he's part of the problem.

  4. xj25vm


    Hmm - sounds suspiciously like the old fashion protection racquet. Join one mafia group to be protected from the others. Pay us money so we protect you from the others suing you and claiming money off you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Protection?

      Before I give you a down-vote, could you point us to some real information regarding the amount of money a company has to pay in order to be an OIN member ?

  5. gerryg

    The least worst solution

    Given the state of patents and patent litigation, anything that helps restore sanity is welcome, but it is extra-judicial and extra-democratic. In effect there's a good natured tough guy in the neighbourhood threatening bullies if they threaten others.

    But it's not the same as a sensible legal system with proper oversight and actually adds dead-weight cost because it's working on the symptoms not the cause.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The least worst solution

      Unfortunately IBM and Microsoft do not want a sensible legal system with proper oversight, they actively lobbied against such a legislative proposal.

    2. Gray

      Re: The least worst solution

      "it's not the same as a sensible legal system with proper oversight..."

      sensible legal system ... right there is a world-class oxymoron ... unless you are referring to a system outside US borders?

  6. btrower

    Buy Blackberry?

    IANAL, but it seems to me that if Blackberry is immune to those patents then Google can buy Blackberry and simply fold whatever under the Blackberry umbrella. Problem solved at least temporarily.

    Anybody who does not have a conflict of interest and has clue one about this topic knows that at the very least Software Patents are net negative all around.

    Those who feel the patent system has a problem, should be speaking strictly in terms of abolition. This will bring them to the table faster than anything else and once abolition *is* on the table we will all be forced to confront the elephant in the room -- Do software patents properly serve their purpose at a price that make sense? Spoiler alert:No.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buy Blackberry?

      You can't tell for sure if BlackBerry is immune, only a long legal battle could establish that. However, BB might provide some patents Google could use to fend off Microsoft, Apple and Oracle but again, this is not sure until tested in court.

      Sotware patents should have never existed in the first place.

      1. MrXavia

        Re: Buy Blackberry?

        I am anti-software patents, but at least here in Europe they have to solve a 'technical problem' for the software patent to be valid!

        What I don't get though is how they can sue someone for using an open source operating system?

        Especially when they don't even disclose the patents that are valid... It's like Apple suing Windows users because it violates some of their patents rather than suing Microsoft..

        makes me glad I live in the UK, maybe not the sanest place in the world, but certainly saner than the USA

  7. newspuppy

    cost of fighting is B I L L I O N S of dollars?

    Me thinks the finger slipped and hit B instead of M.

    The quote "Financial terms of the Microsoft’s agreement with TomTom were not revealed, although the cost of fighting such cases can run into tens of billions of dollars."

    I presume the fighting is what gets allocated to each sides attack dogs.....

    (Not that Millions fighting such cases is well spent in my opinion.... but... better Millions then Billions.....)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cost of fighting is B I L L I O N S of dollars?

      I am shocked less accidents happen when such large amounts of money are involved.

  8. J 3


    This is a bit off topic, maybe, but the patent is supposed to be a mechanism to reward inventors, or so I understand it.

    Then, I think patents should be allowed to be sold at most once: when the inventor wants to sell it to someone who will then use the process patented -- if they do not use the process, they should not be able to charge for royalties on it either. That way, inventors would make more money. And patent trolls would pretty much cease to exist. And let's face it, patent trolling is all that this article is about, deep down.

    1. FrankAlphaXII

      Re: Patents

      A patent should be null and void if a company it is sold to doesn't produce a product based on the patent within a reasonable time limit, like say a year or 18 months. It also should be rendered void if a purchaser buys it and begins to litigate within that timeframe. If there's no product being produced then the patent isn't rewarding innovation or invention for the intent of making a competitive product, its stifling the works of others.

  9. Bladeforce

    This is...

    Brilliant! Albeit rather sad that companies are forced to go back to a free market this way because of the totally corrupt US patent system and trolls funded by Microsoft and Apple

  10. Lapun Mankimasta

    Been reading this sort of thing for the last few years:

    "Microsoft has been tying makers of Android and Chrome devices from Google into licence agreements – with claims that Android and Chrome violate certain undisclosed Windows patents."

    So Microsoft's subsidizing it's failing hodgepodge of mobile and embedded OSes with money extorted from the companies that are succeeding in those fields with Linux and Android. Microsoft's mobile and embedded OSes are bludging on welfare and have been on it for the past six or seven years. One thing people say about people on welfare long-term - they lose their initiative.

    It's kind-of obvious with Microsoft's mobile and embedded OSes, isn't it? Have they shown any sort of initiative within the last seven years that's worth mentioning? I certainly haven't read about it. Has anyone else?

    Microsoft is Microsoft's own worst punishment.

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