project was granted a preliminary injunction against Fortinet UK Ltd. project was granted a preliminary injunction against Fortinet UK Ltd.




Munich court grants preliminary injunction halting sales 


BERLIN, Germany - Apr. 14, 2005 -- The project has
uncovered violations by Fortinet UK Ltd., the UK subsidiary of Fortinet Inc.,
of the GNU General Public License (GPL).  According to,
Fortinet used GPL software in certain products and then used cryptographic
techniques to conceal that usage. 


As a result of this violation, the Munich district court has granted a
preliminary injunction against Fortinet Ltd., banning them from further
distribution of their products until they are in compliance with the GNU GPL


The GPL licenses software without collecting royalties, but requires any
distributor to provide the full corresponding source code and a copy of the
full license text.


"This violation by Fortinet is especially egregious since the vendor not
only violated the GPL, but actively tried to hide that violation," said
Harald Welte, Linux Kernel developer and founder of the
project. "We are not in any way opposed to the commercial use of Free and
Open Source Software and there is no legal risk of using GPL licensed
software in commercial products.  But vendors have to comply with the
license terms, just like they would have to with any other software license


Fortinet offers a variety of Firewall and Antivirus Products (the FortiGate
and FortiWiFi product series), on which Fortinet claims to run the "FortiOS"
operating system. However, as the project uncovered,
"FortiOS" is using the Linux operating system kernel and numerous other free
software products that are licensed exclusively under the GNU GPL. This
information was not disclosed by Fortinet.


Following a warning notice by the project on March 17,
2005, Fortinet did not sign a declaration to cease and desist.  Out-of-court
negotiations on a settlement failed to conclude in a timely manner.


Thus, the project was compelled to ask the court for a
preliminary injunction, banning Fortinet from distributing its products,
unless they are in full compliance with the GNU GPL license conditions.


About the project


In the past 15 months, has helped uncover and negotiate
more than 30 out-of-court settlement agreements. The
project is a not-for-profit effort to bring commercial users and vendors of
Free Software into compliance with the license conditions as set forth by
the original authors.  The project was founded and is managed by Mr. Harald
Welte, a Linux Kernel developer and Free Software enthusiast.


For more information on the project, its mission, milestones and goals,




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Phone: +49-30-24033902


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