Google fined $5m for Linux patent infringement: Is Android next?

April 22, 2011
8

Google has been fined $5m after a Texas court found the company guilty of infringing a Linux kernel patent, in a move that experts believe could significantly hamper open-source software's growth. The fallout of the case, filed by Bedrock Computer Technologies, could see users of Android eventually chased for licensing fees, reports the BBC.

The specific patent infringement actually refers to Google's server farm and the Linux kernel used there; the patent itself covers "methods and apparatus for information storage and retrieval using a hashing technique with external chaining and on-the-fly removal of expired data." Bedrock also accused Softlayer Technologies, CitiWare Technology Solutions, Yahoo!, MySpace, Amazon.com, PayPal, Match.com, AOL and the CME Group of similar infringement.

However, FOSS Patents suggests, the repercussions could see Android the next key target. "Google might have to modify the Linux kernel it distributes with Android in order to remove the infringing code" patent activist Florian Mueller suggests, "because otherwise there's always the risk of contributory infringement should any app make use of that portion of the Linux kernel."

[via Mobileburn]


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001543071869 Elatia Grimshaw

    Linux is open source.

  • Dillonl?

    Why doesn’t Google acquire Bedrock?

    Does this mean that Ubuntu has it?

  • Dillonl?

    Why doesn’t Google acquire Bedrock?

    Does this mean that Ubuntu has it?

  • http://twitter.com/BruceCLin Bruce Lin

    software patents are BS. It’s like patenting sentence structure for literary work. Like literature, software should only belong in copyright.

  • http://twitter.com/BruceCLin Bruce Lin

    software patents are BS. It’s like patenting sentence structure for literary work. Like literature, software should only belong in copyright.

  • http://www.djcube.co.uk Cube1701

    ” Linux kernel patent, in a move that experts believe could significantly hamper open-source software’s growth.”

    If there’s patent/licenses and stuff involved, then surely it’s no longer open-source?

  • Jarspander

    Also remember that a patent infringement law suite can be a David-versus-Goliath confrontation. Defendants in patent infringement lawsuits are usually large corporations with unlimited resources, while plaintiffs in patent infringement lawsuits are often individuals or small businesses with very limited resources.

    • Gregory Suvalian

      Not true. Usually this “small” companies actually represented by lawyers working on contingency basis, so they eager to fight till the end since they are not paid untill recovery.