Zimbra raises cash — Zimbra, the San Mateo company that developed a Web 2.0-class email platform, has raised $14.5 million in a third round of funding
We’ve written about Zimbra before, noting how it lets you drag and drop emails to your calendar (which is great, because we get really bugged with the clunky Outlook), and even lets you automatically turn the emails into calendar events, etc. There’s a whole range of features already discussed. It has also added what it calls “zimlets,” which for example gives you a Google Map if you mouse over an address.
Presidio STX, the venture arm of Sumitomo, and Duff Ackerman & Goodrich joined existing investors.
Neflix’s “business model patent” — Did news about online Netflix’s lawsuit against Blockbuster strike anyone as, well, different? Netflix is a local Silicon Valley company, and you want to support the underdog, but the patent it is trying to protect is basically its business model. Indeed, Blockbuster has responded: “The timing of this lawsuit appears to confirm that Blockbuster Online has emerged as a real competitive force in the online rental industry…Apparently Netflix would prefer to take us on in the courts rather than facing us in the marketplace where the consumer is the judge.”
Netflix sued Blockbuster Tuesday in San Francisco, claiming Blockbuster violated two patents, one detailing how subscribers create lists of movies they want to rent, and the other covering the number of titles they can rent at a time. They don’t really seem incredibly innovative, and the lawsuit seems designed to reduce competition, as some have pointed out. Mike, at Techdirt, seems to take particular delight in pointing out the follies of our patent system. He points out how the “business model” patent is almost entirely the work of one specific patent attorney. Almost no one had been pushing for business model patents, but the judge, Giles Rich, who wrote the decision allowing such patents had been one of the patent attorneys who helped draft the patent law it relied on:
In his decision, he claimed that it was “Congressional intent” to allow business model patents — which he should know if he helped draft the law, which is why he’s sometimes referred to as “the father of the patent system (though, it makes you wonder why he was presiding over this case).
Google employee dishes on Gmail — Here, a Google employee tells the good, bad & ugly about his company’s Gmail, comparing it to old freeware client Pine.