DNS Filter

det721

Part of the Furniture
I have noticed that Asus has removed the DNS filter from there firmware in the last few releases. Eric (Merlin) will you continue DNS filter in your builds ? And why did Asus drop it from there code ?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev

Swistheater

Very Senior Member
I thought it was because of a trademark/copyright issue with the DNSFilter service
That is likely the case, especially if Asus was relying on a third parties permission to use a service. Similar to how they have agreements with trendmicro, and other similar thirdparty vendors.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
That is likely the case, especially if Asus was relying on a third parties permission to use a service. Similar to how they have agreements with trendmicro, and other similar thirdparty vendors.
Not quite the same though. Unlike say TrendMicro, they aren't licensing a service from another company. They just happen to have added a feature (copied from Merlin) that has the same name, right down to the capitalisation of letters, as an existing commercial product. DNSFilter. Oops.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
It is probably coming back with some future firmware update, but named differently.

I'm glad Asus finally included external IP detection in DDNS. Makes DDNS useable for the guys with no bridge mode option.
 

Swistheater

Very Senior Member
Not quite the same though. Unlike say TrendMicro, they aren't licensing a service from another company. They just happen to have added a feature (copied from Merlin) that has the same name, right down to the capitalisation of letters, as an existing commercial product. DNSFilter. Oops.
Sometimes naming makes all the difference.... Next the company will try to say that they didn't just use the same name, but they stole their concept as well.
 
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Martinski

Regular Contributor
Next the company will try to say that they didn't just use the same name, but the stole their concept as well.
The company may very well have a trademark registered for both their name & logo, but unless they have a valid patent that's still in effect which details the specific mechanism or methodology used to do DNS filtering, they cannot legally claim ownership of the whole concept as their intellectual property.
 

Swistheater

Very Senior Member
The company may very well have a trademark registered for both their name & logo, but unless they have a valid patent that's still in effect which details the specific mechanism or methodology used to do DNS filtering, they cannot legally claim ownership of the whole concept as their intellectual property.
While that may be the case, it does not dismiss the fact that it wouldn't open the door to the thought. Sometimes that has more power than just the proof of concept. After all , Asus has to consider all these legalities because it is their reputation on the line.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Not quite the same though. Unlike say TrendMicro, they aren't licensing a service from another company. They just happen to have added a feature (copied from Merlin) that has the same name, right down to the capitalisation of letters, as an existing commercial product. DNSFilter. Oops.
I implemented DNSFilter in 2014, and that company was founded in 2015.
 

Martinski

Regular Contributor
While that may be the case, it does not dismiss the fact that it wouldn't open the door to the thought. Sometimes that has more power than just the proof of concept. After all , Asus has to consider all these legalities because it is their reputation on the line.
ASUS' lawyers obviously didn't do their due diligence WRT the naming of the DNSFilter feature; so it's possible that they didn't do it either in their patent search. And only a currently-in-effect valid patent gives a company full, exclusive rights & ownership of a specific invention, design, or methodology for a service, feature, product, etc. Without an already existing patent, you cannot legally claim ownership after the fact, no matter how many doors you want to open to the thought.
 

Martinski

Regular Contributor
I implemented DNSFilter in 2014, and that company was founded in 2015.
I was previously involved in litigation that happened between a patent troll and the company I was working for at the time. The troll's lawyers claimed that the specific software design & implementation we had done for a particular feature was infringing on their patent. Bottom line, we won in court because we were able to prove via records from all our project meetings, notes, emails, requirements specs, functional specs, and dumps of our software management version control tool that our design & implementation concept preceded their patent registration for at least 3 years.

Lesson learned: keep records of everything, as far back as you can, to prove when the inception of the feature first occurred.
 
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Swistheater

Very Senior Member
ASUS' lawyers obviously didn't do their due diligence WRT the naming of the DNSFilter feature; so it's possible that they didn't do it either in their patent search. And only a currently-in-effect valid patent gives a company full, exclusive rights & ownership of a specific invention, design, or methodology for a service, feature, product, etc. Without an already existing patent, you cannot legally claim ownership after the fact, no matter how many doors you want to open to the thought.
I am sure Asus developers were testing the waters without the faithful graces of their legal department. Having learned of the potential infringement, Asus developers halted the roll out of the supposide feature because they are waiting for feedback from their legal department who are likely tied up with handling other snafu acquisitions.
 

Martinski

Regular Contributor
I am sure Asus developers were testing the waters without the faithful graces of their legal department. Having learned of the potential infringement, Asus developers halted the roll out of the supposide feature because they are waiting for feedback from their legal department who are likely tied up with handling other snafu acquisitions.
Obviously, I'm not privy to the inner workings of ASUS S/W development operations, and I have no factual information about the current situation WRT DNSFilter, so I can only comment based on my experience as a S/W developer for large companies of similar scale (HP & Kodak), In each case, the company has a team of lawyers whose main job is to protect & manage the company's public image & its IP portfolio (Intellectual Property: trademarks, copyrights, patents & trade secrets). So, before making any announcement on a public platform of a new feature or product, before producing any marketing materials & advertising collaterals, and before distribution of public-facing Alpha/Beta releases containing the new feature, the "name/title/slogan" has already (and hopefully) been fully vetted by their legal office, and the go-ahead has been given. We, S/W developers, don't have the power or authority to make unilateral decisions on any of this; we don't get to "test the waters" just to see what happens while the legal office is still doing their due diligence.

This is done for many reasons, some of which are to avoid the potential legal exposure to infringement lawsuits & to save money in the long term. A trademark infringement is relatively simple to fix: just change the name. But it may cost a lot of money, time & manpower if done after a public announcement/exposure has been made because any marketing materials, advertising collaterals, Alpha/Beta releases, source code, etc. already produced have to be recalled, reviewed, and redone to remove any & all references to the trademark. Furthermore, potential legal settlements must be negotiated to avoid further damage.

The point is that after the new "feature/product" with the trademark infringement is out in the public eye (even if only for a short time), it becomes more difficult to "unring that bell."
 
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Swistheater

Very Senior Member
Obviously, I'm not privy to the inner workings of ASUS S/W development operations, and I have no factual information about the current situation WRT DNSFilter, so I can only comment based on my experience as a S/W developer for large companies of similar scale (HP & Kodak), In each case, the company has a team of lawyers whose main job is to protect & manage the company's public image & its IP portfolio (Intellectual Property: trademarks, copyrights, patents & trade secrets). So, before making any announcement on a public platform of a new feature or product, before producing any marketing materials & advertising collaterals, and before distribution of public-facing Alpha/Beta releases containing the new feature, the "name/title/slogan" has already (and hopefully) been fully vetted by their legal office, and the go-ahead has been given. We, S/W developers, don't have the power or authority to make unilateral decisions on any of this; we don't get to "test the waters" just to see what happens while the legal office is still doing their due diligence.

This is done for many reasons, some of which are to avoid the potential legal exposure to infringement lawsuits & to save money in the long term. A trademark infringement is relatively simple to fix: just change the name. But it may cost a lot of money, time & manpower if done after a public announcement/exposure has been made because any marketing materials, advertising collaterals, Alpha/Beta releases, source code, etc. already produced have to be recalled, reviewed, and redone to remove any & all references to the trademark. Furthermore, potential legal settlements must be negotiated to avoid further damage.

The point is that after the new "feature/product" with the trademark infringement is out in the public eye (even if only for a short time), it becomes more difficult to "unring that bell."
Exactly my thoughts as well, but from the gist on the matter, it would seem it was thrown into a beta before the actual "legalities" were fully vetted. Then pulled when the possible infringement was discovered. While I under stand how you and other developers "should" operate, it appears this scenario left alot of question marks. While you are right we cannot assume all the facts, we also cannot establish a notion of what happen based on what should have happen either.
 

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