Barracuda to defend its ClamAV from Trend Micro's patent threats

By Margarita Snegireva. Mail and security appliance vendor Barracuda Networks announced plans today to defend the open-source ClamAV antivirus program from dubious patent threats made by Trend Micro, a prominent security software company. Trend Micro claims that its US Patent 5,623,600 broadly covers the concept of server-based antivirus software on FTP and SMTP gateways.

Trend Micro alleges that Barracuda's inclusion of the open-source ClamAV server-based antivirus software in commercial network security appliances constitutes patent infringement. Trend Micro has already wielded this patent against Symantec, McAfee, and a number of smaller companies, who have settled out of court despite issuing public statements denying that the patent is valid. For most companies, the cost of settlement is cheaper than the cost of protracted litigation - a factor that companies count on when they attempt to collect licensing money.

Barracuda Networks, Inc. is a privately held company providing firewall products to block e-mail spam, viruses, spyware, load balancing and instant messaging software.

Barracuda Networks was established in 2002 and since June 2007 is based in Campbel, California, having previously operated in Mountain View, California and Cupertino, California.

On January 29, 2007, Barracuda Networks was sued by Trend Micro over their use of the open source anti-virus software Clam AntiVirus, which Trend Micro claims to be in violation of their patent on 'anti-virus detection on an SMTP or FTP gateway'. 

Clam AntiVirus (ClamAV), is a free open source antivirus software toolkit for Windows and Unix-like operating systems. One of its main uses is with mail exchange servers as a server-side email virus scanner. ClamAV is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Both ClamAV and its updates are made available free of charge.

Sourcefire, a maker of intrusion detection products and the owner of Snort, announced on 2007-08-17 that it had acquired the trademarks and copyrights to ClamAV from five key developers.

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