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Thread: Trend Micro sues Barracuda

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    Default Trend Micro sues Barracuda - Could it effect Zimbra ?

    Slashdot | Trend Micro Sues Barracuda Over Open Source Anti-Virus

    How could this effect the use of ClamAV and AmavisD within Zimbra ?
    Last edited by uxbod; 01-30-2008 at 05:47 AM.

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    I must preface this by saying (1) I am not a lawyer, and (2) I am not a Zimbra or Yahoo! employee. I am speaking of my own accord and on behalf of nobody else.
    How could this effect the use of ClamAV and AmavisD within Zimbra ?
    I would think that the Y/Z lawyers are going to ask this question very carefully. However, my first thoughts are that TrendMicro's patent may be on shaky ground in that adding security features to a mail gateway may fail the test of "obviousness" which is one of the grounds for a patent being disallowed. To illustrate with a really over-the-top stupid example, imagine someone trying to patent a "method for securing electronic information using a centralized password repository." The U.S. Patents and Trademarks office could award such a patent (for all I know they may have) and the holder could, in theory, charge a license fee to anyone who has a password-protected server. It seems to me (as a layman, remember) that filtering mail at the gateway is almost as obvious as putting a password on your server account.

    This article gives a much more detailed discussion of the merits of the case.

    The mere fact that Symantec and McAfee have paid TM license fees is not, in and of itself, evidence that TM has a valid patent; it may only mean their legal departments did not have the stomach for that fight. Barracuda has taken the position (according to the article) to publicly fight the attack rather than quietly settling. It should be an interesting one to watch.

    I would certainly hope nobody makes a knee-jerk response to this vis-a-vis Zimbra. . .but again that's just my opinion.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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    For those who want to read further look at the patent itself. Here is the abstract:
    Abstract
    A system for detecting and eliminating viruses on a computer network includes a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) proxy server, for controlling the transfer of files and a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) proxy server for controlling the transfer of mail messages through the system. The FTP proxy server and SMTP proxy server run concurrently with the normal operation of the system and operate in a manner such that viruses transmitted to or from the network in files and messages are detected before transfer into or from the system. The FTP proxy server and SMTP proxy server scan all incoming and outgoing files and messages, respectively before transfer for viruses and then transfer the files and messages, only if they do not contain any viruses. A method for processing a file before transmission into or from the network includes the steps of: receiving the data transfer command and file name; transferring the file to a system node; performing virus detection on the file; determining whether the file contains any viruses; transferring the file from the system to a recipient node if the file does not contain a virus; and deleting the file if the file contains a virus.
    One question that might be interesting is to ask whether Zimbra's implementation of ClamAV is actually the use of a "proxy server" as described in the patent. I say this because I actually don't know the flow of data well enough to answer this question. Is a daemon running on the mail server itself the same as a proxy server running on a gateway like Barracuda's? I'm not entirely sure, but I think it may technically be different.

    More food for thought, anyhow.

    Dan

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    transferring the file from the system to a recipient node
    is also a good one, as the scanned file is not forwarded onto a recipient node, but stays on the same server. IMHO all Barracuda would need to do, would be to send the email to a second Postfix instance, and then let that forward on. It's all open to interpretation, but certainly generating a lot of interest, and from legal entities aswell.

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    Without reading anything more than the abstract, I don't see how this applies to Barracuda or Zimbra, as neither of them use FTP in any way, and the system described uses *both* FTP and SMTP.

    Would also be interesting to see the year of the application and compare that to when the first SMTP virus scanners were implemented.
    Freddie

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    Quote Originally Posted by fcash View Post
    Without reading anything more than the abstract, I don't see how this applies to Barracuda or Zimbra, as neither of them use FTP in any way, and the system described uses *both* FTP and SMTP.
    Actually either/or would still count. Go to the patent itself and look at claims 1 & 3. FTP doesn't have to be part of the package.
    Quote Originally Posted by fcash View Post
    Would also be interesting to see the year of the application and compare that to when the first SMTP virus scanners were implemented.
    This is more relevant. The question of "prior art" is part of determining whether a patent is truly novel, and I suspect that this is one of the areas where the patent in question could be challenged.

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    It really is sad when a dying company starts suing everybody over ridiculous things just to make some revenue.

    Remember SCO?

    I'm not worried.

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