A few weeks ago, Novell and Red Hat jointly fended off a patent infringement suit thrown their way by a patent troll. The patent in question more or less came down to the concept of virtual desktops – and thanks to Groklaw, several people helped in finding cases of prior art. The most interesting one of all? A carefully restored and working Amiga 1000 demonstrated to the judge and jury.
When this court case was first revealed back in 2007, Groklaw asked its readers to help in the hunt for prior art, and later still, Red and Novell asked the community to do the same. The Amiga was one of the most often mentioned cases of prior art, and it turns out it played a major role in turning this case in favour of Novell and Red Hat.
Someone actually came forward with a carefully restored and working Amiga 1000 from 1986, which was demonstrated to the jury as a case of prior art. More cases of prior art were presented, but having a live demo of 1986 hardware sure played an important role according to Groklaw, who has access to the court documents.
The owner of the Amiga 1000 was delighted his machine played such an important role. “Apparently my habits of being an eclectic collector of historic computer gadgetry and my work in restoring a 1986 Amiga 1000 system to its multi-screen, muti-tasking glory as prior art evidence for a Red Hat Linux patent fight paid off,” he said, “My Amiga killed a troll!”
Even 24 years after its original release, the Amiga still manages to leave an impression. Jay Miner would be proud.