Barracuda Networks is going on the attack in response to security vendor Trend Micro's assertion that it violated one of Trend Micro's patents.
At the center of the controversy is a Trend Micro patent the company says covers virus scanning of a server, such as a gateway or appliance, before data is received by a client computer. But while Trend Micro officials say they are only defending their turf, Barracuda Networks is casting the situation as an attack on open-source software.
Dean Drako, CEO of Barracuda, claims his company is being attacked for its use of ClamAV, an open-source network anti-virus project purchased last year by Sourcefire. After Trend Micro officials sent Barracuda letters about the matter in late 2006, Barracuda decided to take the matter to U.S. federal court and filed for a declarative judgment to settle the matter. Then, in December, Trend Micro countered by filing a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission.
"In their ITC filing they accused us of importing the ClamAV software and that [that] is infringing software. ... In the federal case, their claim is that we manufacture [and] sell a product that infringes on their patent," Drako said. "In their explanation ... they specifically refer to ClamAV as the source of the infringement, and call out the subroutines-they actually went through the source code of ClamAv and found the specific subroutines which they claim infringe on their patent."