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Patents Red Hat Software Linux

Red Hat Settles Patent Case 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the making-it-go-away dept.
darthcamaro writes "Red Hat has settled another patent case with patent holding firm Acacia. This time the patent is US Patent #6,163,776, 'System and method for exchanging data and commands between an object oriented system and relational system.' While it's great that Red Hat has ended this particular patent threat, it's not yet clear how they've settled this case. The last time Red Hat tangled with Acacia they won in an Texas jury trial. 'Red Hat routinely addresses attempts to impede the innovative forces of open source via allegations of patent infringement,' Red Hat said in a statement. 'We can confirm that Red Hat, Inc and Software Tree LLC have settled patent litigation that was pending in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas.'"
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Red Hat Settles Patent Case

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  • Settlements (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday October 04, 2010 @07:04PM (#33789310)
    I really hope they didn't pay them Giving these weasels money just encourages them. I'd add the traditional "unless the patent really was valid" but I really don't think any software patents are valid.
  • by syousef (465911) on Monday October 04, 2010 @08:07PM (#33789866) Journal

    How many clear cases of stifled innovation do we need before we have a major overhaul of copyright? Western government is traditionally quite good about their public attitude to corruption. However, if there's one area of corruption that is visible to Joe average and rampant it's IP law. You can't even make a toy model of a real aircraft or car without paying royalties. (As if this is what the manufacturer's first motivation is. What a joke!). Music and film royalties predominately go to middle men and both industries whine on and on about lost profit. Now we have a situation where coming up with a new idea isn't lucrative because you might just step into some obscure patent.It's become a game of which company can sue the other into oblivion. How is that suppose to encourage invention and innovation? Is it any wonder the western world's going backwards in these areas?

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Monday October 04, 2010 @08:26PM (#33790004) Homepage Journal

    Connect this with Red Hat's recent statement to the U.S. Patent Office [redhat.com] telling them to stop granting software patents, although the result in the Bilski case gives them no reason to do so.

    Red Hat lost. They caved and paid for their own license, and everybody else has to negotiate separately.

    It was obvious that if Acacia went after them again, they would not do so in a way that would allow the same outcome as their first case.

    The sad thing about this is the way Red Hat has screwed the Open Source developer community. Not with this case, but with their conduct over the past decade. They refused to stick their neck out by lobbying aggressively for an end to software patenting, both in the industry and with government. Then, there was no sentiment in favor of ending software patenting in the industry when the Bilski case came about, and the court followed the BSA's amicus curae statement extensively while paying little attention to the Free Software / Open Source side.

    What Red Hat did was court the biggest patent holders extensively for their business. And they got it in part by not rocking the boat on software patenting. So, they made that money on the backs of the community.

    And now it's open season on open source. Thanks, guys.

  • Re:Settlements (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Monday October 04, 2010 @09:20PM (#33790452)

    Probably Red Hat gets a perpetual free license and Acacia does not get their patent tested so they can pursue targets with fewer resources to protect themselves.

    I find that outcome unlikely unless red hat found something to threaten them with. For a patent troll giving someone a free license with no court results is tantamount to defeat, they either want licensing revenue or a court result giving them precident to file more suits.

  • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Monday October 04, 2010 @10:14PM (#33790772) Homepage

    I want to add a clause to the GPL forbidding use of software in the State of Texas, until they clear this up, and boycott the state -- with all software products, so Texas will not benefit from the software or technology until they clean up their act, and stop allowing 21st-century robbers to loot the treasuries of successful technlogy firms. Who's with me???

    Punish the whole of Texas because you dislike something happening in east Texas?

    How about we boycott California because some asshole put ice in his snowballs.

    Boycott New York because a bear attacked my uncle?

    Sorry, uhh.. roll the music!

  • by int69h (60728) on Monday October 04, 2010 @10:19PM (#33790814)

    Why exactly should Red Hat be the ones forced to stick their neck out? It would be nice if they did, but they are under no obligation to do so and haven't "screwed" anyone. Perhaps you've forgotten that Red Hat is a huge contributor to the community in the form of code, unlike certain other popular distributions. They made their money on the backs of their employees.

  • Ended!? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ysth (1368415) on Monday October 04, 2010 @10:55PM (#33791056)
    You don't "end" a patent threat by settling. Ever.
  • by int69h (60728) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:14PM (#33791182)

    For the sake of comparison, here's some other companies making money off the Linux kernel that could easily fund the lobbying and publicity efforts: Google 1.2%, Nokia 2.5%, IBM 2.9%, and many others whose contributions were too small to measure, although I'm pretty sure it will be a cold day in hell before IBM lobbies to abolish software patents.

    http://lwn.net/Articles/395961/

  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:46PM (#33791340) Homepage Journal

    The difference between these folks and Red Hat is that their business is not based on Open Source software entirely. Red Hat's is. And thus, I think there is little doubt that Red Hat should do what is right for Open Source. That said, I wish those folks would help us too.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday October 04, 2010 @11:55PM (#33791372)

    They refused to stick their neck out by lobbying aggressively for an end to software patenting, both in the industry and with government.

    With the greatest possible respect Bruce, how on earth do they do that successfully instead of just generating a lot of noise? Hitting your head against a solid wall may impress others but it does not bring the wall down.

  • by pieterh (196118) on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @12:59AM (#33791610) Homepage

    Here's the thing... Red Hat have long claimed to be against software patents and claim a special position when it comes to the business of open source. Yet they have a fairly significant portfolio of software patents, and of business method patents, both in the US and in Europe. Their business method patents tend to cover software distribution and support, thus they are aimed at potential rivals. Definitely not 'defensive'.

    Red Hat will happily claim patents on standards they are participating in, as they did with AMQP. And when they had the chance to hit the patent system hard, as they did in Europe from 2005 to present day, they do nothing. I was president of the FFII for two years, and Red Hat sponsored us precisely 0.00 Euro since 2005, to the best of my knowledge. Other firms, like Canonical, did give us quite serious support.

    The worst thing in a fight such as we've been in for years against software patents, which are an evil, is so-called friends who in fact endorse and use the very system we're trying to change. Red Hat are this: they claim one thing, but do the opposite. There's no pleasure in seeing them settle here but it is well-deserved.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday October 05, 2010 @11:31AM (#33794768)

    Where does he do that? Literally the only thing he said was: "This was a patent case, not a copyright case. The two have very little to do with each other.", which certainly seems to me to be an entirely factually correct (and rather polite by slashdot standards) correction.

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