Patent Troll Rothschild Patent Imaging decided to sue the GNOME Foundation claiming that their patents have been violated.
The GNOME Foundation decided to fight back, and lawyered up, large with pro bono counsels, filed a counter-suit, and kicked the troll’s slimy ass.
While the specifics have not been revealed, we do know that the Patent Troll agreed never to sue again, and that GNOME paid them nothing:
Updated The GNOME Foundation has settled a US lawsuit brought against it by Rothschild Patent Imaging, complete with an undertaking by the patent assertion entity that it will not sue GNOME for IP infringment again.
In a so-called “walk away” settlement, Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPI) and the open-source body are discontinuing their legal battle that began in October last year. RPI sued for alleged IP infringement of one of its patents by the GNOME photo-organising tool Shotwell, marking the first time a free software project had been targeted in that way.
In a statement at the time, the GNOME Foundation said RPI “offered to let us settle for a high five-figure amount, for which they would drop the case”, something it said would be “wrong” to do. The open-sourcers thus countersued RPI, aided by lawyers from New York law firm Shearman Sterling who agreed to work on the case for free.
Not only did GNOME score a settlement with RPI that halted the lawsuit altogether, it also received an undertaking to prevent it being sued again for patent infringement by RPI (with the caveat that the software in question is open source). That settlement covers a bundle of around 100 patents, we are told.
[GNOME Executive Director Neil] McGovern also told Brock that the open-source community “managed to raise over $150,000 from over 4,000 individual donors” to fight the case, adding: “One of the strengths of the community is how passionately we care about what we do, and how we rally around each other when there’s trouble.”
Updated to add
In an article comment on this story, McGovern said: “For those asking about payment, I can confirm we paid RPI and Leigh Rothschild a grand total of $0.00 for the settlement.”