Barracuda defends free and open source software from patent threat

Barracuda Networks announced it 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 license fee.

Dean Drako, president and CEO of Barracuda Networks commented:

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. 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 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.

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