A dispute between security appliance maker Barracuda Networks and Trend Micro started earlier this year when Trend Micro claimed that ClamAV infringes on its patents covering the use of server-based antivirus software on FTP and SMTP gateways. Barracuda has now filed a countersuit against Trend Micro to try and protect the open source ClamAV antivirus program from Trend Micro’s nasty allegations of infringement. Barracuda which is a supporter of open source software was unwilling to simply negotiate a cheap licensing agreement for patent indemnity. This of course also benefits other ClamAV users which include small business, non-profits, and even some governments.
Ars Technica quotes Barracuda CEO Dean Drako as saying, "The reality is that Trend Micro is asking Barracuda Networks to pay for the use of the free and open source ClamAV software.” He goes on to say, “We have asserted all along that Trend Micro's actions are unjust and could have serious implications against the open source community and other free and open source projects."
While Barracuda’s motives aren’t all together altruistic since they use ClamAV in their products, it’s none the less vital for everyone. ClamAV is not a fully featured AntiVirus program, nor is it the best, but it plays an important role. Trend Micro sounds like it is patent fishing for cash, and I am unimpressed. They might run the risk of a consumer backlash if it attempts to go after ClamAV directly. You can learn more about Barracuda’s efforts here.