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News

Barracuda Networks to defend patent infringement claim.

Barracuda Networks : 30 January, 2008  (Company News)
Trend Micro and Barracuda Networks are in conflict over patent infringement claims over what Barracuda believes to be open source software.
Barracuda Networks plans to defend itself, the open source community and the free and open source Clam AntiVirus software from a patent threat by Trend Micro. Barracuda Networks' decision to take action comes after repeated requests from Trend Micro demanding Barracuda Networks remove ClamAV from its products or pay a patent licence fee.

'Trend Micro's actions illustrate that ClamAV and other open source projects remain vulnerable to commercial patent holders attempting to unjustly hinder the free and open source community,' said Dean Drako, president and CEO of Barracuda Networks. 'Trend Micro appears to be seeking an interpretation of its '600 patent such that it would have exclusive control of gateway antivirus scanning. Scanning for viruses at the gateway is an obvious and common technique that is utilized by most businesses worldwide. So this interpretation would mean that anyone, including the owners of the more than one million active ClamAV installations, could potentially be sued by Trend Micro.'

Barracuda Networks filed for declaratory judgment in early 2007 in U.S. Federal Court to invalidate Trend Micro's U.S. Patent No. 5,623,600 and to end Trend Micro's continued legal threats against Barracuda Networks for use of the free and open source ClamAV software. Trend Micro subsequently responded to that declaratory action and more recently Trend Micro filed a claim with the International Trade Commission (ITC). The ITC voted to investigate the claim in December 2007. Trend Micro's ITC claim alleges that Barracuda Networks infringes on Trend Micro's '600 patent, but effectively implies that any anyone using the free and open source ClamAV software at the gateway infringes on the patent. Barracuda Networks believes that the patent is invalid due to prior art and further believes that neither its products nor the ClamAV software infringe the patent.

"Trend Micro's claim with the ITC is unfounded since the ITC generally oversees import issues," said Drako. "Barracuda Networks designs and manufactures all of the products in question in the United States. We believe that Trend Micro's actions are a blatant abuse of the US legal system. Since Trend Micro is a consumer of free and open source software we call on Trend Micro to drop these attacks."

Eben Moglen is the founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center, an organization with a mission to "to protect and advance free and open source software," and one of several influencers within the free and open source community that supports Barracuda Networks efforts.

'Collective defence from software patents is a shared responsibility for everyone in the free software ecosystem,' said Moglen. 'We are grateful to see device manufacturers like Barracuda Networks take on this responsibility, and we will do what we can to help those who help free software resist such patent abuse.'

ClamAV, the free and open source software at the core of this case, was originally developed by Tomasz Kojm in 2001, with more than one million unique IP addresses downloading updates daily. ClamAV was acquired by SourceFire, the company that created SNORT, in August 2007.

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