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Red Hat pays $800,000 + costs for a patent deal

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Red Hat pays $800,000 + costs for a patent deal
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2008 11:11:40 +0200

Essentially, Red Hat has licensed the patents in question, which deal
with computer databases, from DataTern. DataTern had claimed that one of
Red Hat's business-software products, a database program known as JBoss
Hibernate, violated the patents. 

Under terms of the settlement, customers have a royalty-free, worldwide
license to use any and all Red Hat products, Red Hat says in a
statement. DataTern and its parent company, British venture capital firm
Amphion Innovations, also have promised not to file suits related to
claims on Red Hat products. 

In a statement, Amphion Innovations said it would take in $800,000 from
the settlement after costs. An Amphion spokesperson wasn't immediately
available for comment. Red Hat isn't commenting on terms of the
settlement, a spokesperson says. 

"Our distributors, customers, and anyone else who uses Red Hat products
are protected with respect to Red Hat products," the company said in a
statement posted to its Web site. "This broad coverage is a significant
benefit to the open source community." 

Reactions from the freetards universe:

Full terms of the settlement and patent licenses are not yet available. 

Richard Fontana, patent attorney for Red Hat and formerly of the
Software Freedom Law Center, said 

   Red Hat's settlement satisfies the most stringent patent 
   provisions in open source licenses, is consistent with the 
   letter and spirit of all versions of the GPL and provides 
   patent safety for developers, distributors and users of 
   open source software. 

Richard Stallman, executive director of the Free Software Foundation,

   If we can judge from Red Hat's statement, the deal is good 
   for the free software community. I would not want to treat 
   that as certain; they might have chosen not to mention some 
   negative side. Be that as it may, it was an unfortunate 
   mistake to refer to patents as "intellectual property"; see Red Hat should 
   know better than to do that. 

Eben Moglen of the Software Freedom Law Center, and general counsel of
the Free Software Foundation, said 

   "Red Hat's settlement of outstanding patent litigation on 
   terms that provide additional protection to other members of 
   the community upstream and downstream from Red Hat is a 
   positive contribution to the resources for community patent 
   defense. We would hope to see more settlements of this 
   kind--in which parties secure more than their own particular 
   legal advantage in relation to the third-party patent risk 
   of the whole FOSS community--when commercial redistributors 
   of FOSS choose to settle patent litigation. SFLC welcomes 
   Red Hat's efforts on the community's behalf." 

PJ of Groklaw also claims that the deal is "Compatible with GPLv3" 
and "harmonious with GPLv2".
(Red Hat Makes History With Patent Settlement - Compatible with GPLv3)

You've probably been wondering why I've been quiet, when there is news
about a patent settlement between Red Hat and Firestar and DataTern in
the JBoss litigation. It's because I wanted to be positive I was correct
that this is the first known settlement involving patents that is
harmonious with GPLv3. It is. 

It's also harmonious with GPLv2, of course, but this is history in the
making, friends. They settled a lawsuit brought against them in a way
that licenses patents without violating the GPL. I'll show you how, but
first, so you know I'm not just dreaming, here's the answer I got from
Richard Fontana, Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel, Red Hat, to
my question about whether this is the first known GPLv3 patent agreement
that works:

   Most patent settlements and similar agreements are 
   confidential, but to my knowledge this is the first patent 
   settlement that satisfies the requirements of GPL version 3. 
   Indeed, it really goes further than GPLv3 in the degree to 
   which upstream and downstream parties receive safety from 
   the patents at issue here. (And this is not a case of 
   trying to find a loophole in the GPL, but rather a desire 
   on our part to reach an agreement that provided broad 
   patent protection for developers, distributors and users, 
   while complying fully with the conditions of the licenses 
   of the software we and our community distribute.)



(GNG is a derecursive recursive derecursion which pwns GNU since it can
be infinitely looped as GNGNGNGNG...NGNGNG... and can be said backwards
too, whereas GNU cannot.)

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