Linked by Kroc Camen on Tue 17th May 2011 12:05 UTC
Mono Project Two weeks ago we covered the news that the Mono development team were let go kicked out by the new owners of Novel, Attachmate, apparently to move operations to Germany. Miguel de Icazza, founder of Mono, has taken this opportunity to break off on his own and has started a new company, Xamarin, to bring commercial .NET development products to iOS and Android.
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RE[2]: Comment by Morin
by oiaohm on Wed 18th May 2011 04:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Morin"
oiaohm
Member since:
2009-05-30

I am about to play the legal devil.

Why use .NET to develop iOS apps? Well, how about the fact that it is a managed framework. Not having to worry about memory management (garbage collection) sound useful to you? It sure does to me. How about the fact that it brings much of the excellent .NET framework with it? I wrote an app earlier this month that includes both Feedburner (Blog) and Twitter feeds. I was able to use LINQ-to-XML to do in a few lines what would be a royal pain the @#$* to do in Objective-C. I also used a custom micro-ORM that I wrote myself (built over ADO.NET) to do the database work. I originally wrote this for an ASP.NET app and was just able to reuse it wholesale in my iPhone app. Very nice.


So I am a patent troll. I have just turned up on your door sueing you with a patent MS sold me.

Now why you. You shipped an application contain mono using a feature that my patent just happens to cover. ADO.NET(that is outside the community promise),

You try to point me to the mono project who sold you it. Sorry I am not interested. You shipped it with your application so you are up for twice the price your iphone application sold for. Yes apple does not provide the runtime and you aquired it from a non patent protected source the new mono company.

Now if you had aquired it from Novell or the company that had taken it over I would have to wait until the end of year to attack you. Basically if I was you I would be planning to pull you app from the iphone store when the MS Novell agreement ends.

Strangely few weaks latter I now own the source code rights to your application. You are working for me to pay of your debt.

Thank you for playing with legally unsafe stuff.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Morin
by tanishaj on Wed 18th May 2011 07:57 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Morin"
tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22

I am about to play the legal devil.

So I am a patent troll. I have just turned up on your door sueing you with a patent MS sold me.

Now why you. You shipped an application contain mono using a feature that my patent just happens to cover. ADO.NET(that is outside the community promise),

You try to point me to the mono project who sold you it. Sorry I am not interested. You shipped it with your application so you are up for twice the price your iphone application sold for. Yes apple does not provide the runtime and you aquired it from a non patent protected source the new mono company.

Now if you had aquired it from Novell or the company that had taken it over I would have to wait until the end of year to attack you. Basically if I was you I would be planning to pull you app from the iphone store when the MS Novell agreement ends.

Strangely few weaks latter I now own the source code rights to your application. You are working for me to pay of your debt.

Thank you for playing with legally unsafe stuff.


Nice one.

1) I explain that I did get it from Novell (or Attachmate) and send you on your way. They distribute it identically (and I did actually get it from them in real life by the way). According to your post, I am golden and we are done. But let's continue anyway.

2) If I am feeling energetic, I might spend an afternoon to modify the code to work around your patent. ADO.NET is not exactly rocket science. Avoiding it completely would not be difficult. Your patent will be quite specific though so I doubt I have to change much.

3) I send you a written letter expressing my surprise that you have a patent claim on the code in question. There is no way that I am willfully infringing. After all, the code in question is being distributed by dozens of independent commercial entities and open-source projects. I got it from one of them (and will pick the one that offers me the greatest defenses).

4) I sit back and relax while you spend your time pursuing people with much, much deeper pockets than me
- This would include practically every database vendor as they have all implemented custom ADO.NET connectors
- This would include the majority of the Fortune 500
- This would include every commercial Linux distribution that I am aware of (SUSE, Red Hat, Canonical, etc.) as they all distribute Mono
- This would include most of the companies that use Mono in their products and there are a whole bunch

5) I look at the System.Data stuff that Microsoft has distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. If it requires your patent, then I have a patent grant from Microsoft.

6) If Microsoft has not licensed the patent from you to cover me above, then I sit back while you work through suing an EXTREMELY long list of people first. If Microsoft truly sold it to you outright, the list (and pocket depth) of .NET infringers dwarfs the Mono crowd

7) I call the Open Invention Network and tell them that some shitty patent troll is attacking Mono and that many of their members are exposed. Mono is listed under the definition of "Linux" that the OIN is designed to defend from patent attacks. The legal teams at Sony, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, RackSpace, and about a hundred other companies start working on my behalf.

8) I send a 911 to http://linuxdefenders.org, who use the same definition of "Linux" as the OIN. (ie. Mono is included in this definition). I probably fire off an email to Groklaw while I am at it.

They mobilize an army of passionate patent-hating geeks with centuries of combined tech experience to find examples of prior art and other loopholes in your patent. Honestly though, it will only take them about an hour to document it extensively as DBI in Perl, PDO in PHP, and a platoon of other technologies that all did exactly the same thing in the same way were in wide use before ADO.NET even existed.

9) I assert that your patent is not valid. Have fun with that review now ya hear.

10) If we do get to court, I ask that the trial be set aside while the validity of your patent is determined

11) I ask that our trial proceed pending the outcome of infringement cases you have launched against "more significant" users of the identical technology

12) You could ask for an injunction against my product but it will not be granted if I demonstrate that I have taken steps to avoid the use of your patent

13) If the trial proceeds at all, I argue that I am not (and have not been) infringing your patent as it does not apply to my use of the technology.

14) I point out that the doctrines of estoppel and laches, in combination with the public statements and behaviour of Microsoft (the patent originator) limit or eliminate the possibility of my being found to be infringing even if your patent is valid. I provide mountains and mountains of evidence in this area.

15) If you somehow win, I am not a willful infringer. Damages are limited to "provable" sales losses or "reasonable royalties". I am not sure where you get this "twice the price" nonsense.

16) How long have you owned that patent? I may not have been infringing long. Selling patents to patent trolls to attack rivals is more about blocking the sale of those competing products. If the tech is core to the products then you might demand payment for the "ongoing" distribution of the products. There is not often a big payoff for "past" distribution in the case where a patent troll gets a patent from a passive aggressive competitor in this way.

It is obvious that neither of us are lawyers.

This could all end badly for me I admit. Of course, I run the same risk with pretty much all the software that I use. In my opinion, Mono is not high on the list of technologies that could land me in hot water. This is particularly true of media formats, operating systems, communication protocols, and the like. The web applications that I build could be attacked by any number of bogus patents (even by firms such as Amazon).

Patent trolls can strike anywhere of course. In the USA, software in general is "legally unsafe stuff" under the current system.

Amusingly, if I am running my Mono app on an Android device, I am statistically much more likely to be sued about the use of Android than I am about the use of Mono.

Thanks though. That was fun.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: Comment by Morin
by oiaohm on Wed 18th May 2011 09:00 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Morin"
oiaohm Member since:
2009-05-30

Nice one.

1) I explain that I did get it from Novell (or Attachmate) and send you on your way. They distribute it identically (and I did actually get it from them in real life by the way). According to your post, I am golden and we are done. But let's continue anyway.

Voids end of this year. So as a wise troll I will wait until then. That you did or did not means nothing. The deal with Novell was only 5 years. So any attachmete or novell protection ends on that day. If you are still distributing past that point you are on your own.

2) If I am feeling energetic, I might spend an afternoon to modify the code to work around your patent. ADO.NET is not exactly rocket science. Avoiding it completely would not be difficult. Your patent will be quite specific though so I doubt I have to change much.


Maybe. But the problem that you should have known what your legal allowances were. So it will be willful or incompetence for infringement. Unless of course you have contacted MS to take out a patent deal directly when the novel deal expires. Hopefully they charge lightly.

3) I send you a written letter expressing my surprise that you have a patent claim on the code in question.

Also not valid. You will be asked to present where you got the patent grant. Basically at best you will be able to claim incompetence but that does not protect you under the law. This line has been tried in court with the Linux kernel. It don't work.

4) I sit back and relax while you spend your time pursuing people with much, much deeper pockets than me
- This would include practically every database vendor as they have all implemented custom ADO.NET connectors
- This would include the majority of the Fortune 500
- This would include every commercial Linux distribution that I am aware of (SUSE, Red Hat, Canonical, etc.) as they all distribute Mono
- This would include most of the companies that use Mono in their products and there are a whole bunch


Redhat does not install Mono by default. Redhat would not be attackable. Canonical is in a country were software patents don't apply. SUSE will be in a country where if I lose my patent claim I am up for costs. So you making a iphone app without a legal team to protect yourself will look quite good.

In fact most 500 companies either run windows servers or php and java based sites on Linux and Unix. Their is almost no Mono usage in that department to go after

5) I look at the System.Data stuff that Microsoft has distributed under the Apache 2.0 license. If it requires your patent, then I have a patent grant from Microsoft.

That only applies if the version you got from mono is the same version MS provided. Not some feature mono added extra. Tampered with code based are pricks because what appears protected can turn out not to be.

6) If Microsoft has not licensed the patent from you to cover me above, then I sit back while you work through suing an EXTREMELY long list of people first. If Microsoft truly sold it to you outright, the list (and pocket depth) of .NET infringers dwarfs the Mono crowd

Microsoft does not sell patent outright. They always include a clause. You cannot attack anyone using Microsoft Platforms. So MS .net users are off the menu. But Linux include android and iphone and os x users would be on the menu.

7) I call the Open Invention Network and tell them that some shitty patent troll is attacking Mono and that many of their members are exposed. Mono is listed under the definition of "Linux" that the OIN is designed to defend from patent attacks. The legal teams at Sony, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, RackSpace, and about a hundred other companies start working on my behalf.

Read the fine print of OIN. This is nasty but since the application is on a iphone this is not a Linux kernel based item. It is not pure mono its a subform not listed in OIN protected parts. So calling OIN gets you no where. If application is on Android you might be able to call on OIN. But you said iphone app.

8) I send a 911 to http://linuxdefenders.org, who use the same definition of "Linux" as the OIN. (ie. Mono is included in this definition). I probably fire off an email to Groklaw while I am at it.


You are still alone at point. Did this help Tomtom. Answer no. As a troll my company is a shell so after I am done with you it cease to exist. So I really don't care how muddy they make my current company name.

9) I assert that your patent is not valid.


In-fact USA Patent law suxs. Because as the person attack with a patent I don't have to prove its valid or invalid. Its upto the attacked to prove that its invalid. At the attacked person costs.

10) I ask that the trial be set aside while the validity of your patent is determined

Tripple damages if its proven valid on any distributed past this point. USA patent law is a ass. Since you paid for a program and include in its documentation is a statement about the patent deal that laps you are stuffed. True its in the documentation for iphone and android runtime from novell.

11) Proceed pending the outcome of infringement cases you have launched against "more significant" users of the identical technology


Tomtom tried this does not work. You have no legal rights to direct a court to process another case first.

12) You could ask for an injunction against my product

If I have proof you should have know about possible patent issues with the code base and you have not done the required actions to address. Injunction will be granted even if you are trying to work around patent now. Because its incompetence that you are in court so injunction is simple to get.

13) If the trial proceeds at all, I argue that I am not (and have not been) infringing your patent as it does not apply to my use of the technology.

Very hard to win. And you are talking 4 years in court costs to get to this point. Also as a troll I can be despicable and demand inspection of your code base. In the process somehow it leaks. Since as a troll my company has no assets trying to claim damages for code loss is not an option.

14) I point out that the doctrines of estoppel and laches, in combination with the public statements and behaviour of Microsoft (the patent originator) limit or eliminate the possibility of my being found to be infringing even if your patent is valid.

Does not apply in a USA patent court. Those are anti-trust defense. Those are not use against patent trolls. Patent originator is not a factor.

15) If you somehow win, I am not a willful infringer. Damages are limited to "provable" sales losses or "reasonable royalties". I am not sure where you get this "twice the price" nonsense.


Twice the price is when you have to pay the winners court costs as well. iphone apps mostly don't make more money than the claimed court costs(Yes USA law has no requirement that they be real costs of the legal case either). Twice would be nice but I would expect it to be more like 3 to 4 times the income the application really made.

16) How long have you owned that patent? I may not have been infringing long. Selling patents to patent trolls to attack rivals is more about blocking the sale of those competing products.


As a troll this does not matter. Way because this goes to anti-trust that does not apply in a patent hearing. If you win this you might be able to get payment for how much you lost to the troll out of Microsoft. Yes you now have to take MS to court. No sane lawyer will suggest that defense.

Nasty part about being a troll. You will. My company has no assets. So you are still up the creek.

Yes their are reasons why Redhat is forced to settle with Trolls.

ADO.net is only an example. Other sections in Mono that have never been released as Apache 2.0 by Microsoft and are not under the ECMA or any other patent grant.

Wakeup if you go to court you lose.

Reply Parent Score: 2