Remember when Groklaw was digging for the "smoking gun" that would connect Microsoft to the lawsuit IP Innovation has lodged against Red Hat and Novell? Well, it turns out that the plaintiff's parent company, Acacia Research, issued a statement last week to the effect that Microsoft has absolutely nothing to do with the case. In fact, says ZDNet blogger Paula Rooney, the company also denies that the suit is an attack on open source.
From the Acacia statement, which is quoted in Rooney's post:
IP Innovation is not attempting to inject itself in the ongoing philosophical debate of whether products or services which utilize open source are subject to the same intellectual property laws/behaviors as non-open source offerings. Acacia and its subsidiaries do not philosophically differentiate any company, but rather seek to consistently and fairly monetize patent rights from those companies which incorporate patented technology.
Here's the thing: They may not have intended to inject themselves into the debate, but they filed suit against the two biggest Linux distributors, so they did inject themselves into the debate. No matter which side wins, the case will mark a shift in how the software market generally -- and the open source movement in particular -- address patent issues. And those involved in it will be associated therewith for a long time to come.