Way back in 2008 I wrote (and again here) about a patent fight between Barracuda Networks and Trend Micro. Trend was asserting its 1995 patent on gateway AV against Barracuda using the open source Clam AV program.
Trend had already extracted money from Symantec, McAfee, Fortinet and others. Hey it was not a bad little business. They basically claimed that they owned the patent on gateway AV and anyone who wanted to offer gateway AV had to pay them a licensing fee.
Dean Drako over at Barracuda though said enough. He called on the open source community to help him defend this suit. The open source community responded and posted not one, but several cases of prior use or prior art.
This put the Trend patent on some very shaky ground. Such shaky ground in fact that the ITC (where Trend had brought the action against Barracuda) offered a pre-trial opinion that the patent was probably invalid.
As is often the case when things like this happen, it is better to settle the case quickly and quietly rather than having a unfriendly legal precedent hanging over your head. Trend settled with Barracuda and tried to sneak back into their lair before the sun came up.
But the vampire hunters over at Fortinet would not let this blood sucking patent creature rest. As detailed on the Fortinet blog by Patrick Bedwell, (an SBN member) they have pursued Trends patent as being invalid. They appear on the verge of having it overturned!
If so strike one for the good guys. Hopefully this will lead to more innovation, more choice and better products in the gateway AV market.