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Hyperion vs Cloanto, the longest running lawsuit in the history of computing?

February 15, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

Delphi and C++ builder developers will probably not have much interest in this, but as far as general IT news goes, this one is attracting interest far and wide due to the sheer absurdity involved. To be honest I also think that the case itself serves as a warning to companies and developers in general, because this truly is the best example of how bad things can go if you don’t manage your patents and rights properly.

So while I’m loving Delphi’s 24th birthday festivities, I find the ongoing lawsuits so amazing that I have to write a few words.

[Edit]: To make the case even remotely understandable for people that have never read about it before, I have left out a ton of details. The whole Amiga Inc scandal (which I believe ordered production of OS4 to begin with?), Eyetech, H&P, the loss of the Amiga OS 3.9 source code. The gist of the post here is not to dig into the details (also known as “the rabbit hole” in the community), but to give a short recount of the highlights leading up to the present situation – and to underline that people who still care for the system, the Amiga community, is beyond fed-up with this. I hope all parties get their act together and find a way to co-exist.  For those that want to dig into the gory details spanning three decades, there is always the Amiga documentation project.

Some context

Long story short, back in the early 90s Commodore, a company that for close to two decades ranked as a giant of computing, collapsed. Years of mismanagement, poor leadership, if not outright shameful, had taken its toll on the once fierce giant; And as the saying goes: the bigger they are, the harder they fall. And boy did Commodore fall.

players

Commodore ranked side-by side with the biggest names in the industry

What people often forget is that tech-companies have two types of currencies. The first is what consumers consider valuable; things like the products they make, how much money is in the bank, the state of their inventory, good partners and retailers — all points of importance when running a business.

Major players though couldn’t care less about these factors, not unless they align with their own needs. So from a PC company’s perspective, getting rid of the Amiga and butchering Commodore for patents was a spectacular win. Because, and here we get into the nasty parts: for an already established competitor, a dead tech company has one asset and one asset only: namely their patent-portfolio.

So all that buying and selling we saw in the 90s, with Amiga changing hands left and right, had nothing to do with saving the Amiga. The Commodore legacy was reduced to a piece of meat and thrownto the wolves, each ripping into its patents left and right. So while graphic, the piece of meat in this analogy held an estimated value of a billion dollars.

Patents are valuable because they represent repeated income and a level of financial security unline ordinary currency. Large companies use patent portfolios in combination with their insurance. IBM is more or less the archetypical example of this. They remain one of the richest companies in the world, but spend their time tinkering with super-computers and science experiments. “Big Blue” haven’t “worked” in the true sense of the word since they started licensing out PC as a platform. They own the patents for pretty much everything we know as a PC today, and don’t need to compete. They make a fortune just sitting there.

Climbing up the rabbit hole

gateway

Gateway and Escom both tried to save themselves using the Amiga patents, but they failed

When Commodore fell, the vultures moved in quickly. People have focused so much on the Amiga computer and branding aspect of Commodore, that we often neglect that the true value of such a giant was never the end-product, but the intrinsic values of their patents and technological inventions.

Very few knew the identity of the party now in possession of the Commodore patent portfolio until quite recently. It caused quite a stir online when I published the name of the owner last year (both on this blog and Amiga Disrupt on Facebook).

Just to underline: this information have never been secret or anything of the sorts. It’s just a type of information ordinary people wouldn’t know where to find (myself included). You have to know where to look and what to look for. And while I have some experience with copyright cases and intellectual property – I would never have found it without a heart to heart with Trevor Dickinson. The major shareholder in Aeon, which produces the Next Generation Amiga system (x5000 and the upcoming A1222). He kindly helped me through the avalanche of older court documents and pointed me to an article series in AF Magazine that I had no idea even existed.

I should also stress that I have no special friendship with Trevor. I have talked to him on various occasions and we share a passion for the Amiga system. He has always been very kind, but I don’t know him personally. Nothing I write here is done in his favour or out of some form of loyalty. I simply find that A-EON and Hyperion’s plans and products makes the most sense in 2019.

When the mysterious owner of Commodore and Amiga turned out to be Acer my jaw dropped. They had been sitting on the patents for all these years without making a sound. Licensing out bits and pieces to Aeon and Cloanto respectively — which are just that, license holders, not intellectual property owners (except what they have made themselves). From Acer’s point of view the Amiga computer is worthless and they wouldn’t give a cup of coffee for the Amiga name or its legacy. I’m actually surprised they even bother to allow the licenses in the first place. Unless they inherited them as part of a package deal. Dont know and don’t care.

How Acer got a hold of them can only be speculated on, but I would imagine they snapped them up when Escom went under. How much of the original portfolio remains intact is anyone’s guess. The classical Amiga OS source-code was, as we know, acquired by Hyperion from Amiga Inc years ago. That was the 3.1 version. Interestingly the 3.9 version was help by H&P (a german company) and was sadly lost when they existed the Amiga market permanently.

Workbench and hipsters

For those that haven’t read or followed up on the “Commodore case”, the license holders mentioned above (A-EON, Hyperion, Cloanto), have been at each other’s throats since the brits annexed India. Which is why this case has become interesting for others as well.

0001

Nobody under 33 years of age would associate this with Commodore or Amiga.

To give you some examples of the epic battles at hand: they have argued in court over the right to use a checkered bathing ball, you know those you can buy almost anywhere and that resemble a french table-cloth? Oh yes I kid ye not.

They have gone to court over the misuse of said bathing apparatus, the misrepresentation of the ball, who owns the ball, it’s buoyancy – and let us not forget trademarking the word “Workbench” (the name of the desktop system the Amiga uses). A word today only used by hipsters in meth-labs and tool-time-tim wannabe’s on YouTube. The absurdities are so dense you could bottle them.

If we look at the many struggles since Commodore went under from a bird’s eye perspective, we are essentially seeing the same lawsuit on infinite repeat (with a few variations here and there). I got married, I had kids and 15 years later I got divorced. And when I got back they were still at it! Good god guys, what a complete and utter waste of time, resources and talent (The lawsuits not my marriage. Well maybe both), not to mention counter productive! If anything these frequent lawsuits are destroying what both parties are trying to protect. Although I question if one of them indeed are.

If I was to go back to school and re-invent myself, I would become an author. All I had to do to was take the Commodore story and place it in middle-earth, give the people involved pointy ears, brutal weaponry and silly names and voila! A tale that would make Tolkien himself weep; because great as his imagination was, never could he have concocted such a story. Not even Keith Richards if we let him loose in a pharmacy on “take all the drugs you can carry day” – could make up a timeline as insane as the Commodore aftermath.

Lawsuits 1-0-1: Que bono?

To catch you up with the present events, let’s just go through the basics first.

It can be difficult to distinguish between Hyperion and Aeon, so lets start with a few words about that. Hyperion is ultimately a software company. They started (if I recall correctly) as software house porting PC games to the Amiga platform.

I previously wrote that Trevor was the major shareholder in both companies, that was actually wrong, he holds a very small role in Hyperion. But who owns what here is ultimately pointless. The relationship between Hyperion and A-EON is that Hyperion represents the software branch, and A-EON is the hardware branch. And combined they make out the owners and producers of what is commonly called “Next Generation” Amiga machines.

A-EON and Hyperion hold the rights to develop Amiga OS, covering both the classical 68k version and the NG models which are PPC based. Cloanto have only sales rights, which are limited to the legacy 68k ROM kernel files, and workbench. That is ultimately what separates these two groups. So even though there are 3 companies involved, it’s easier to regard them as two separate entities.

And yes we could argue that OS4 was instigated by Amiga Inc earlier, but i’m trying to keep this readable for people that haven’t read anything about this silliness before, so i’m skipping all of that.

image2

Amiga OS is loved by many, but to be frank it’s reached the point that fighting over it has long since passed. A teenager today knows PSX, XBox and completely different brands

Until recently Aeon and Hyperion have focused completely on their Next Generation system. Aeon creates the hardware and Hyperion does the software. Hyperion also offers the older legacy roms and Workbench in their webshop. But until recently they have been more interested in selling next-generation software and machines.

Cloanto have been exclusively about legacy. They have no license that involves software development, and are for all means an purposes a retro retailer (or undertaker if you will). They sell old Commodore stuff, and that’s it. So while they have argued like cats and dogs over absolutely everything, like that worthless boing ball and the name “workbench”, they at least managed to co-exist somehow.

That was, until Hyperion listened to the Amiga Community and released an update for the 68k platform. Which is perfectly within their rights to do. They have a license that covers both 68k and PPC. Acer has set a clause (from what I can tell) that they are not allowed to touch x86, but as far as 68k and PPC is concerned — Hyperion is well within their rights to issue an update. After all they own the source-code for Amiga OS 3.1 which I mentioned above, Cloanto does not.

The response from the community was quite frankly outstanding. Finally a proper update for both Workbench and the kernel! Everyone was ecstatic and the whole scene was filled with positive hopes that things were finally moving forward. This was after all the first real update since Napoleon was in office!

Cloanto however, not so much. Because even though they share the sales license with Aeon, they have no rights to the new software created. They don’t make a penny on the new 68k kernel (rom files) or the new Workbench. They can continue to sell the older variations of Amiga OS, but they have no legal right to software written and issued in 2018. Cloanto responded like they always have, by issuing a lawsuit.

So the reason Cloanto took Hyperion to court for the 13th thousand time, has nothing to with open-source (a rumour that was planted before Xmas). It is motivated purely by greed and the fear that the Amiga might actually spring back to life.

And this is where we get to the nasty parts

Legacy software undertakers

undertaker

Legacy software is not unlike the undertaking business

First of all, and I want to make this crystal clear: Cloanto’s entire business model rests on the Amiga remaining dead. In a bizarre twist of irony, the self-proclaimed caretakers of Amiga actually face financial ruin if the Amiga ever became popular or rose from the grave. Stop and think about that for a moment: They make money on the Amiga remaining a dead system.

The only product Cloanto have actually produced, is a pixel paint program called PPaint, which was awesome back in the previous century.

The state of affairs for the past 18 years, is that Cloanto depends completely an emulator, UAE, short for “The Unix Amiga Emulator”, when it comes to the Amiga . Which ironically is not Cloanto’s work at all, but an emulator created by Bernd Schmidt, Toni Wilen and Mathias Ortmann; neither have received a penny despite Cloanto profiting on their work for close to two decades (!)

The selling of legacy Commodore software I have no problem with at all. But what bakes my noodle is forking UAE and selling it for profit without giving something back to its original authors? I have yet to see the source-code for Amiga Forever on Github for example? The laws of GPL are pretty straight forward. I’m not saying that the source code does not exist, i’m simply saying that Cloanto has gone out of their way to keep it hidden.

Sure it may be legal but I find it somewhat tasteless. profiting on UAE for all those years, and not even a symbolic sum for the guys that keep UAE going? I mean, had they actively participated and contributed to the UAE codebase I would have applauded them for it. Sadly Cloanto presents itself as a blatant opportunist more than a preserver. They say one thing, but their actions speak of something else entirely.

And don’t get me wrong, Hyperion and Aeon have more than enough mistakes on file. But when comparing Hyperion’s mistakes against Cloanto, remembering that these two have an obligation to represent Acer’s financial interests to the best of their ability — you cannot help notice that they are worlds apart. Hyperion is producing new software, Aeon new hardware, and they have even given the much loved 68k systems a do-over. That is their responsibility to Acer who ultimately can pull the plug on either should they be so inclined.

This where I get a bit worked up – because Cloanto have nothing to do with software or hardware development. It is quite frankly none of their business (in the true sense of the word). They have licensed the old kernel and Workbench; they have also licensed the C64 roms – and that is where their role ends. Yet they spend more time trying to obstruct Hyperion (and by consequence, Aeon) at every step of the way.

While I have no idea who sits on the c64 rights these days, the c64-mini has sold in good numbers around the world. Since Cloanto is the only company with c64 rights I presume they have cashed in on that? Like always it’s hard to tell, because there are more than one company that claim to sit on pieces of the true Commodore legacy.

So to sum up: we have one side producing new hardware, new software and doing updates which is their obligation and right. And we have another party who has created nothing, including the heart of their business, demanding a cut of something they shouldn’t even be involved in (!)

Greed, the mother of invention

Cloanto’s motives should be pretty obvious by now, but let’s hash through it.

With a new Workbench and kernel out in the wild, Cloanto find themselves in a difficult position. Who would want to buy an older kernel or Workbench when there is a newer, 2018 version available? Well, I would like all of them to be honest, but yes I obviously want to use the new versions as much as possible.

790_2

The A1222 was due out Q1 2018. It remains on hold until the lawsuits are finished. Keeping Hyperion and Aeon in court is a matter of survival for Cloanto at this point

But that alone is not enough to explain Cloanto’s panic-stricken behavior. They could welcome the new update and simply license it, like they should because they have no right to another companies work.

Instead they run out and buys the remnants of that company I mentioned earlier, Amiga Inc, which is a straw company that has a terrible reputation involving fraud and investor scams. A company that for some magical reason had the right to the name “Amiga” (like that holds any value in 2018, good lord what are you people doing) and sat on the source-code for the OS. This is the same source-code that Hyperion ended up buying, which is no doubt the foundation for the update before xmas.

Why would they go to such lengths as to secure a superficial paper-tiger like Amiga Inc? Trying to reverse the process? Looking to hijack the Amiga names? What gives? It’s almost like Cloanto is looking for something to fight over, desperate to keep Hyperion in court for as long as possible.

And why would they refuse to sell 2000 roms to myself and Gunnar to make ready-to-use Amiga “mini” machines? If I didnt know better, they are brewing on something. The market is just ripe for retro, and their behavior towards us hints that they are not very happy about Amibian’s existence.

It makes even more sense when you factor in the long-awaited A1222. A whole new Amiga that Aeon and Hyperion is 100% invested in bringing to market.

The Amiga A1222 is a Next Generation PPC Amiga that should retail at around USD 450. This product was supposed to reach the market in Q1 2018, but with the lawsuit(s) and drain on funds, getting the product out the door has been impossible. So much so that Cloanto is now damaging Hyperion (and Aeon) by proxy.

Around Xmas 2018 Cloanto began spreading the rumor that they were fighting to “open source Amiga OS”. That is a blatant lie and I was tempted to write a piece there and then, but I have been busy with work. I also thought Amiga users wouldn’t fall for such an evident lie, but some people actually cheer Cloanto on — believing that Cloanto can somehow “help” the Amiga platform. For Christ sake, Cloanto doesn’t even have a developer license – much less the right to open source Hyperion and Acer’s intellectual property. I doubt Acer is even aware of just how badly Cloanto is going about their business. Buying the remnants of Amiga Inc might be an attempt to buy credibility, but its 20 years too late.

The present legalities are, to be blunt, nothing more than a diversion designed to keep the A1222 out of the marketplace. The question is: why and will they try to replace it with something?

Although the motives are now painfully visible, so much so that it might as well be lit up in neon – I think Amiga fans should be very careful where they place their trust. I am sorry but I would not trust Cloanto with a stick of gum, much less the computing legacy of a giant like Commodore. And they are brewing on something, either directly or indirectly, mark my words.

Normally I don’t take sides, but I seriously hope Cloanto wakes up and realize that they are right now, and have been for some time, the spearhead that is keeping the platform in limbo. I have nothing against them personally, but we have now passed the point of no return. You are now risking the codebase of a system that thousands of people care for.

I think I speak for quite a few when I say: Enough! Put that energy, time and money into making something – because whatever you guys started arguing over, is long gone.

There is a whole generation that has grown up without any knowledge of Amiga. Who have no clue what Commodore was and represented. So while you guys have been fighting about who gets to sit where, the boat has left and you missed it.

Final words

You know why I find the most annoying about the situation Cloanto have created? Hear me out here.

Sun Microsystems spent a fortune drumming up support for Java, selling people on a lofty dream where a whole operating-system would be written as bytecodes. And that in special hardware would be made so that bytecodes could run anywhere. Because said bytecodes would be portable between platforms even, and solve the problem with platform bound software once and for all. Companies pumped billions into that dream, yet for all their wealth and power, they failed.

Meanwhile Cloanto, and by extension Hyperion, have had access to UAE since the 90s. A system that embody all the traits that Sun Microsystems attempted to create, and all they have done is to add a menu to it. They have wasted close to two decades without realizing that UAE is that holy grail that Sun Microsystems failed to deliver.

68k machine-code is bytecodes if you execute it on another system. And the distinctions between “virtual machine” and “emulator” are ultimately conceptual – not factual. UAE could have been adjusted as a virtual machine. There you have the compilers, the ecosystem and all the pieces you would need to deliver a portable, blistering fast software deployment system that is truly platform independent.

So, Cloanto, you have been sitting on a gold mine. And you didn’t recognize it because you were too busy arguing over balls, chicken-lip logos, old roms and god knows what else.

engines

You have had solid gold for ages, but you were too busy arguing over names to see it

I sincerely hope Acer takes an active role in their licensing, because as far as I can see, Cloanto is not acting in Acer’s financially best interest (nor Hyperion’s for that matter, which last time I checked can withhold all and any changes to their OS, leaving Cloanto with the dry bones from the past) – and they have become, unless they perform a complete makeover before their next lawsuit, unfit to manage the intellectual property and licenses they have acquired.

You don’t have a developer license, so stick to the legacy stuff and stop getting in the way of those that do.

And for christ sake give the guys who make UAE a percentage, it is tasteless and ugly to watch this level of greed. Seriously.

  1. February 15, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Nailed it!

  2. February 17, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Everyone has something behind their ears, but I do not understand the constant pasting of Hyperion.
    Thanks for the nice article. One of the few reasonable voices in the whole matter.

  3. rvelthuis
    February 18, 2019 at 1:37 pm

    FWIW, it is “Cui bono?”. Otherwise interesting story.

  4. March 8, 2019 at 3:22 am

    I forgot to add, Cloanto is not preventing the AmigaOne A1222 from being released. That is down to a culmination of other issues which are/have been resolved.

  5. March 8, 2019 at 3:26 am

    Seems longs replies are not posted?

  6. March 8, 2019 at 3:26 am

    So I will re-post in parts.

  7. March 8, 2019 at 3:27 am

    I love your Amiga passion Jon 🙂 The post Commodore Amiga story is very complex and convoluted. It took me 20 episodes to tell the Amiga story in my ‘Classic Reflections’ series which was published in ‘Amiga Format’ magazine. That series finished in 2010 just as the news of the AmigaOne X1000 development was revealed. Trying to encapsulate the Amiga’s post-Commodore years in one article is very difficult. Maybe I should resurrect my ‘Classic Reflections’ series and bring the story up to date up to date? 😉

  8. March 8, 2019 at 3:27 am

    However, I need to correct a few misconceptions. A-EON is not involved in the current legal squabble between Hyperion Entertainment and Cloanto. A-EON sublicences the AmigaOne name & AmigaOS 4 from Hyperion Entertainment for its AmigaOne product line (AmigaOne X1000, AmigaOne X5000 and upcoming AmigaOne A1222). A-EON is both a Classic and Next-generation Amiga hardware and software developer.

  9. March 8, 2019 at 3:27 am

    BTW if anyone is interested if reading more about the Amiga’s history, the ‘Classic Reflections’ articles are free to view and download from the Amiga Future archive:

  10. Herbert Floyd
    March 8, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Crystal clear !

  11. March 10, 2019 at 1:47 am

    No way. Acer never owned a single bit of Amiga. It’s a well known story by Trevor though. He wants to destroy Cloanto, that’s why he introduces Acer whenever he can. See “Amiga Documents”, he checked all the patents and expirations, etc. I also disagree on what you say about Cloanto. The litigious entity here is lawyer-owned (and financially desperate) Hyperion, not Cloanto, who are pure software developers, and are being grilled (making them appear litigious, etc.) by Hyperion and their partner Individual Computers for standing up to Hyperion. Who sued Amiga, Amino, Itec, and Cloanto? It was Hyperion! Who registered Cloanto’s “Amiga Forever” product name? Hyperion! Who tricked developers into signing an “NDA” that contained copyright transfer clauses? Hyperion! I could go on, but you clearly have an agenda, so…

    • March 11, 2019 at 9:05 am

      You seem to confuse patent-portfolio with actual amiga technology. All tech companies build up patents over time, and for other companies its ultimately the patents that are interesting.

      Cloanto are not software developers in an Amiga OS capacity. They have one product: PPaint, which is a DPaint rip-off from the previous century. Besides that they added a new UI to UAE, and a custom and closed file-format (Rp9). The code havent even been submitted to github or made publicly available which they are bound to do under GPL. There was a page on their server with a download at one point, but it was so well hidden it was sheer luck anyone would find it.

      When it comes to “being grilled” — Cloanto went out and stated that it was fighting to open source Amiga OS. Talk about lies (!) They dont have the source-code, nor do they have ownership to develop the software. Hyperion bought the 3.1 source-code from Amiga Inc lock-stock-and-barrel. Their statements are at best an attempt to obscure the facts, and shape public opinion — and at worst a blatant lie.

      You should also check who was working at Hyperion earlier, because the company have changed players. There was one person in particular driven mostly by greed, with two cases of theft — and the person who cleaned that up was the very same you accuse of the opposite.

      Instead of lashing out, look at the timeline of both companies. I have plenty of negative things to say about hyperion’s history. But cloanto is ultimately the company that have actively gone out and threatened people for sharing abandonware (games etc) online, and they act as bullies.

      My only agenda is that its OVERDUE that this endless fighting between the two ENDS. Both sides feel they are right, but at the end of the day — the product and market will be gone by the time they agree on anything.

      But right now, cloanto is the one deceiving the public. They play the “nice guy”, but their actions tells a different tale.

  12. Giuseppe di Sangiovanni
    March 10, 2019 at 4:40 am

    Could it be that you are confusing companies?

    Yes, the lawsuits against Amiga, Inc. have been ongoing since about 2006, which is a very sad and long time. But they were brought up by Hyperion (whose founder-owner-CEO-lawyer directed all these attacks). Ironically, they were funded by your protegee Trevor Dickinson, the man who could have stopped (and still could) all legal battles by simply asking Hyperion to pay back its overdue loan, rather than spend the money in lawsuits.

    Cloanto joined the legal action (and was sued by Hyperion, like all other Amiga companies) only in 2017.

    In addition, the 3.9 source code was never “lost”, it merely was not made available in full to Hyperion for OS4, which however was a scenario that was clear already in the notes of the original Amiga-Hyperion development agreement. Some of the patches and updates that flowed into 3.9 were written by Olaf Barthel and others for Amiga International/Amiga, Inc. Apparently, and they even made it into the AmigaOS 3.1.4 update (and into Cloanto’s 3.X before that). Other code was owned by Haage & Partner and/or its developers. But I don’t think any of it was lost.

    • March 11, 2019 at 8:55 am

      I think you might confuse Trevors role in Hyperion. I was under the impression that he owned a majority in stock — which turned out to be wrong. He has little to do with hyperion and holds a passive ownership role. His business is next-generation hardware.

      Also, the article underlines from the get-go that much has been omitted to make it even remotely readable to people not privy to the Amiga culture and scene. The difference between “lost” and “withheld” is abysmal since H&P have exited the Amiga market decades ago. As for individual developers who might have copies, that also is impossible to say because its not public knowledge.

  13. March 11, 2019 at 4:18 am

    “Squabble: a noisy quarrel about something trivial.”

    So threatening to report someone to the police if he does not sign what you want is OK, but if instead the proper legal way is followed, it’s a “squabble”?

    Also, who is the one making a lot of noise out of it? I see you (Trevor) and Hyperion being suspiciously vocal about it, not Cloanto.

    • March 11, 2019 at 8:51 am

      Could you provide examples where Trevor and Hyperion have been “vocal”? What about lies? Cloanto trying to shape public opinion by stating that they are fighting to open-source Amiga OS? They dont even have the source-code, nor do they have the right to develop the system further.

      As for this “go to the police”, again please provide some context, and preferably some documentation beyond a html document anyone could write.

      As for vocal, Trevor has been the voice of reason and diplomacy for many years. I have been vocal and other members of quartex have been vocal. A member from razor 1911 also raised his voice — because cloanto is a joke. They sell a pimped version of uae, they contribute nothing to the uae codebase — nor have they donated a penny to the people behind uae — you know, the people that actually did the work. Its a fucking outrage and had cloanto had anything resembling a spine they would have given back to the people that have done the work they live on.
      But dragging poor trevor into this? I must have hit a nerve since you just blindly lash out. There are faults on both sides, but at least hyperion have the balls to admit them.

  14. March 12, 2019 at 6:08 am

    Jon , you have certainly stirred up the hornets nest! 😉 Some facts here, not just opinion & conjecture. Michael and I discussed the ACER acquisition of Gateway in November 2013 when the possibility that ACER still owned the Amiga IP was raised by a third party. He checked it out at that time. In my discussion with you Jon, you asked me which large company acquired the Amiga after ESCOM, I said Gateway. You asked if Gateway still existed. I said no they were eventually acquired by ACER. In no way did I mean to imply that ACER owned any Amiga IP. Gateway did retain a number of Amiga patents after selling the Amiga IP to Amino/Amiga Inc but whether are still live is anyone guess.

  15. March 12, 2019 at 10:23 am

    In that case we must have misunderstood each other. My context for asking, was to find out where the commodore patents have gone, and if there was a brand-licensee type relationship.

    Little is known about the full scope of the patent portfolio. Commodore had made technology since before the MOS-6502, and it spanned everything from Chuck Peddle’s early inventions to floppy mechanisms and (towards the end) a home theatre multimedia device. The CDTV is especially interesting since, if patented, it could be extremely valuable today where xbox and playstation have effectively become what the cdtv tried to be.

    The reply you came back with was Acer (although our texts were a bit out of sync), which was the same name i had found elsewhere. If you look at the text for this video:

    I saw no reason to question that further since i had heard that name mentioned before. Its not uncommon for tech companies to scoop up broad ranging patents when they can.

    What i did get wrong though, was the relationship between the parties. I first concluded that the amiga-IP had been a package deal, and that the rights to use and evolve the tech is what changed hands. Where hyperion and cloanto essentially answered to one master: the owner of the patents.

    I will apologize for my mistakes, and have no problems doing so openly.

    Those details however, does not change the fact that cloanto have been practically dormant for 15 years -or that hyperion owns the 3.1 source code. Nor does it change the fact that cloanto is selling UAE without giving a penny in return. And are making claims that cannot possibly be true.

    And for those that read this: trevor has actually spoken good about both hyperion and cloanto, hoping that this situation can be resolved quickly. When i first published this article, trevor adviced against it. I dont need other people taking the blame for my opinions, and trevor has been nothing but kind to everyone.

    What should be more interesting, is to see who reacts and why. For example, my patreon account was taken down by a known friend of Mike, in what i presume is revenge for this article.
    Such a reaction without hitting a nerve would be uncommon indeed..

  16. Werner Punz
    June 13, 2019 at 8:23 am

    UAE was not the first emulator and the concept behind the SUN VM was pioneered decades before by Smalltalk and Lisp. Heck even the old infocom games used a vm to make it cross platform.

    But I agree if UAE was GPL Cloanto definitely can be seen lucky not to get sued by the FSF over the GPL breach they obviously seem to do here.
    As for the rest the Amiga wont be resurrected it is a niche market where the remaining parties fight like Vultures” over maybe a handful of customers in their mid 40s (most of them probably know how to setup something themselves)

    There wont be any big Amiga revival anymore, the system was surpassed in the early 90s and anything thrown on the market either will be more expensive with less performance or will run on emulation or maybe just provide a personality stack on top of something else (emulation like situation)

    So Cloantos business model is safe in a way that if you need legal kickstarter and workbench roms cloanto is atm the only source there is to it. But as soon as the Kickstarters and workbenches can be replaced by somehing third party like to a satisfying degree they are dead. Nobody is going to shell out the money for 50 games and a menu.

  17. Ryan McLean
    June 20, 2019 at 11:16 am

    Is it really a patent issue any more? I think it would more around trademarks / copyright.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Term_of_patent would indicate that any patents that amiga had would be pretty much worthless unless you were getting fees from back sales.

  18. retrohour
    October 27, 2020 at 10:30 pm

    It’s an interesting write up I have researched this subject massively. I think a few key points are missing. Gateway was sold to acer. When that split happened amiga inc was formed with Bill mcewan as ceo. Some of the patents and rights went to acer with the portfolio. Amiga inc was then controlled by the Finnish investment group owned by mr kuri (Hope I got the spelling correct lol) Cloanto were licensed to distribute Kickstarter roms and the 3.1 operating system. All the decisions regarding amiga had to be passed via the amiga board of investors set up mr kuris group. Colanto were simply a licensee to amiga in and have no control over decisions over the amiga brand. Me Kuri passed away but his board still controls the brand. Mike had been very clear about this in his speech at amiga German that’s on YouTube. As regards to os4 etc that was licensed to eye tech Uk and passed onto Hyperion after court cases. Amiga had pretty much laid dormant but not due to cloanto but due to the board. Recently there has been activity on the amiga board and they have signed licenses to people like a1200.net for the cases. They are now transferred the ownership of amiga.com and other assets to cloanto recently even rehired Bill mcewan back just to sign off the paperwork. This transfer will go ahead if cloanto win against Hyperion as that has brought the rights of who owns os 3.1 into court. This is all available online and Mike explained it clearly in front of Hyperion and all of the amiga community in Germany. It’s all on YouTube.

    • November 7, 2020 at 5:53 pm

      Wont stick im afraid. Hyperion was given the 3.x source code in a settlement. Laws arw not backwards anullable. So while cloanto might own 3.9, they have no right to 3.1. These are two different assets in the view of law.
      Amiga inc broke the law in so many ways, their claims will never hold up.

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