Google Chromium and Red Bend Ltd.'s alleged infringement of U.S.
Patent # 6546552
Justin T. Gibbs
gibbs at FreeBSDFoundation.org
Wed Mar 10 21:15:02 UTC 2010
Late last week, the FreeBSD Foundation received a cease and desist letter
from Red Bend Software. In summary, they request that the we cease any
and all distribution of files that are claimed to infringe Red Bend's U.S.
patent covering a compression scheme used in software updates. The letter
lists as examples several versions of the Chromium distribution for Gentoo
Linux that appear on a FreeBSD mirror site (ftp2.es.FreeBSD.org). I've
attached a scan of the letter for your reference.
This letter is mis-targeted for several reasons: the FreeBSD Foundation
doesn't own or operate all of the machines in the FreeBSD mirror network
and the software in question was not developed by or for us. Our response
will say as much and I do not expect any further difficulty for the FreeBSD
Foundation in this matter. However, I believe that Red Bend will quickly
move on to contacting individual mirror sites that are hosting these files.
For this reason, I urge mirror site administrators to become familiar with
Red Bend's complaint, determine if your system is distributing allegedly
infringing software, and then to decide the appropriate action for your
For developers, I know that some of you may be involved with or considering
work on Chromium. I urge you to also become familiar with this issue and
take any necessary steps to protect yourself from liability or the risk
of a costly (even if frivolous) lawsuit. Until this patent issue blows
over, you should also consider the inclusion of Chromium in the FreeBSD
ports tree, or in any other way into the standard FreeBSD distribution,
as off limits.
Justin T. Gibbs
The FreeBSD Foundation
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