Barracuda vows to fight open-source patent war against Trend Micro

Barracuda Networks will mount a defense of a patent claim by Trend Micro.

Barracuda Networks plans to focus on finding prior art to defend itself and the open-source ClamAV project against patent claims by rival antivirus vendor Trend Micro, which stressed Tuesday that it owns a tested and valid patent.

Barracuda, facing a Trend Micro complaint before the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), will work on showing the agency that other companies used gateway antivirus scanning before Trend Micro received its patent in 1997, Barracuda said Tuesday. Barracuda uses ClamAV code in some of its products.

"In their claim, Trend Micro is seeking an interpretation of its ... patent such that would give it exclusive control of gateway antivirus scanning," said Kylie Heintz, spokeswoman for Barracuda.

"We believe that neither our products, nor the free and open-source ClamAV software, infringe the patent, and further we believe that the patent itself is invalid due to prior art," Heintz said.

The USITC launched a formal investigation of the patent claims in December.

Barracuda's announcement that it intended to find prior art spurred action in the open-source community. Early Tuesday, Groklaw, a blog focused on open-source legal issues, posted an announcement asking for help finding prior art.

But Trend Micro, which filed the USITC complaint in November, has a "known and time-tested patent," said Michael Sweeny, a spokesman for Trend Micro. The company won a similar dispute with rival Fortinet before the USITC in May 2005, Trend Micro noted. Fortinet later settled the patent claims, getting a license from Trend Micro.

In addition, Trend Micro filed a similar complaint against Panda Software International and Panda Distribution, which use a proprietary software package, said Mark Davis, Trend Micro's outside counsel. Trend Micro has not targeted the ClamAV project, he said. "This is purely against commercial competitors," Davis added.

Commercial software vendor Sourcefire purchased the ClamAV project in August. Sourcefire declined to comment on the patent dispute.

Open-source software is not the issue in the USITC complaint, Sweeny added. "We can't see how this would negatively impact open-source development," he said.

Barracuda CEO Dean Drako called scanning for viruses at the gateway "an obvious and common technique" used by most businesses. Almost anyone, including the owners of more than 1 million ClamAV installations, could be sued by Trend Micro if the company's patent claims hold up, he said in a statement.

Barracuda, maker of hardware containing cybersecurity products, has won support in the dispute from the Software Freedom Law Center, a group working to protect open-source software. The law center is grateful to Barracuda for fighting the patent, said Eben Moglen, the center's founding director. "Collective defense from software patents is a shared responsibility for everyone in the free software ecosystem," he said in a statement.

Barracuda has a pending lawsuit seeking to invalidate the patent in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose division.

Trend Micro is misusing the USITC because it's filing a trade complaint asking the agency to bar importation of a product against a company based in the U.S., Barracuda added. "Barracuda Networks designs and manufactures all of the products in question in the United States," Drako said in his statement. "We believe Trend Micro's actions are a blatant abuse of the U.S. legal system."

But Trend Micro said the USITC is an appropriate venue for the patent complaint. The 2005 Fortinet ruling was also against a company based in the U.S., Davis said. "There appear to be several components that are imported," he said.

Trend Micro's USITC complaint says Barracuda uses code from ClamAV, which is written in part in Europe and Australia. Barracuda also imports hardware components, the complaint says.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?