January 29, 2008 | By Emily Berger

Barracuda Networks Asks For Help in Defending Free and Open Source Patent Claim

Barracuda Networks Inc. today announced that it plans "to defend itself, the open source community and the free and open source Clam AntiVirus software from a patent by Trend Micro."

The patent at issue in the litigation is U.S. Patent Number 5,623,600 and is directed generally to virus detection and removal apparatus for computer networks.

Basically Trend Micro's claim is that Barracuda infringed its patent by incorporating into its products the free and open source Clam AntiVirus software, which scans for viruses at the mail gateway. EFF has long worried that bogus patent claims could threaten the free and open source software community, and we'll be watching this case closely. While this claim was made against a company using the tool, if it's successful the same argument could be targeted at a university or even an individual, so it's important to pay attention at the early stages.

Barracuda has asked for help from the community in seeking prior art for the patent, much as EFF does in its Patent Busting Project. As FSF's Eben Moglen says, "[c]ollective defense from software patents is a shared responsibility for everyone in the free software ecosystem.”

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