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[Fsfe-france] Proces brevets logiciels vs logiciel libre aux USA

From: Laurent GUERBY
Subject: [Fsfe-france] Proces brevets logiciels vs logiciel libre aux USA
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 2005 13:12:17 +0200

Je suppose que la FSF US est au courant.


Patent Infringement Lawsuits That Involve FOSS   
Wednesday, August 10 2005 @ 11:55 PM EDT  

I have the unhappy task of telling you that patent infringement lawsuits
have been filed that impact FOSS. 

The company doing it is J2 Global Communications, Inc. -- the eFax
people -- against Mijanda, Inc., Easytel, Inc., and Protus IP Solutions.
Here's the complaint [PDF] against Mijanda. It was filed in California
by J2 and Catch Curve, Inc., on August 5, 2005. 

Who is Catch Curve? I'll let them describe themselves, from the
complaint: "Catch Curve is an intellectual property development and
licensing firm focused on communications and messaging technologies."
Another way to put it, in my language, is to say that they are a patent

Each plaintiff contributes one patent to this suit against Mijanda:

        -- J2's, which they got by assignment, is #6,208,638, "Method
        and Apparatus For Transmission And Retrieval of Facsimile and
        Audio Messages Over a Circuit or Packet Switched Network." 
        -- Catch Curve got its by assignment also, #6,785,021,
        "Facsimile Telecommunications System and Method."

What the plaintiffs are asking for is monetary damages for past
"infringement", injunctive relief against continued "infringement" of
the patents, and to get paid "reasonable" royalties going forward. I put
infringement in quotation marks, because there is some question as to
the validity of J2's patents, as I'll explain. 

David Sugar brought this to my attention, and he told me about the FOSS

        Mijanda offers a fax to email gateway hosting service on
        Asterisk, a GPL licensed general purpose IP-PBX available under
        GNU/Linux. I believe one of the other companies involved is
        using Hylafax, which is another much older free software
        solution specific to faxing. The short list of free software
        packages that are potentially effected includes mgetty+sendfax,
        some of the fax stuff found in GNOME (and maybe KDE), hylafax,
        Bayonne, and Asterisk. In terms of prior art, whether one
        considers fax machines, classical fax modems, or even the very
        old mgetty+sendfax package used for doing fax to email and email
        to fax on GNU/Linux machines for maybe 20 years now, I am rather
        certain there is a great deal of relevant and readily
        demonstrable prior art in this area, besides the ridiculous
        nature of these patents.

The complaint says Mijanda offers its customers various services,
including fax services through SmartFax and Fax Micro. 
Groklaw is nonpolitical, but it seemed worthwhile to inform you that the
act is currently being debated, so you can follow it, if you've a mind

So, to sum up, we have patent infringement lawsuits to worry about. Some
of you will be able to find prior art on the patents being used against
Mijanda in your sleep, I'd guess. But isn't it a crying shame that
someone has to? 

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