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Patents Red Hat Software The Almighty Buck The Courts Linux

Red Hat Paid $4.2m To Settle Patent Suit 48

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-a-lotta-CDs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "'Red Hat paid $US4.2 million to settle a patent infringement suit brought against it by FireStar Software, an intellectual property activist claims. Florian Mueller, who made a name for himself during the campaign to prevent the adoption of software patents in Europe some years ago, said he had dug up a court filing that showed the payment had been made.' Mueller says the payment made by Red Hat was kept secret but news about it surfaced in another suit."
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Red Hat Paid $4.2m To Settle Patent Suit

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  • by jkinney3 (535278) on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @10:46AM (#35491512)
    RedHat settles a lawsuit and obtained the ability to continue to include code that was found to be patented by others. RedHat paid the cash and in exchange the code is now available under the GPL v.[23] with no further repercussions either upstream towards developers or downstream towards JBoss users. Did they license the code with that cash? That's not what it looks like. It looks like the cash was paid as a penalty and the legal team at RedHat made sure that was all that would ever be paid for the use of that. Did RedHat buy the license with that cash? Not sure but that is allowed in the GPL (my understanding at least. IANAL).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, 2011 @11:19AM (#35491920)

    Redhat has never made the details of the patent agreement with Firestart public, have they? The only thing Redhat published were press releases that made certain claims about the patent deal and compatibility with GPL licenses which everyone lauded. They did not reveal that they made a payment to Firestare in those press release. That important and intentionally withheld fact casts doubt on Redhat's credibility here. I certainly wouldn't trust Redhat's say so about upstream or downstream patent protection if my company were to be sued for patent violations.

    Redhat needs to come clean here and publish their patent agreement in full. Any hedging on their part to do so should cause grave concerns among OSS companies who utilize software that may run afoul of Firestare's patents.

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