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Red Hat Hit With Patent Suit Over JBoss 201

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the at-least-it's-not-about-perfume dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A small software company is claiming that Red Hat's JBoss open source middleware violates one of its patents and is asking a court to stop Red Hat from distributing the product. Software Tree LLC claims that JBoss infringes on its database patent for 'exchanging data and commands between an object oriented system and a relational system.' Software Tree's partners include Microsoft, and that the suit was filed in Eastern Texas, which is known as a plaintiff's paradise for patent actions."
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Red Hat Hit With Patent Suit Over JBoss

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  • Fishy (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:44PM (#27065887) Homepage Journal

    From the Fscking Patent:

    One problem existing in the art is that there are no systems and methods to bridge the gap between the programming paradigm used for object-oriented systems and the programming paradigm used for relational systems.

    O RLY? They honestly want us to believe that they invented O/R mapping? Then what is this ACM paper from 1996?

    Object-relational mapping by Scott Amber [acm.org]

    Either somebody didn't do their homework and their patent is going to fall under a weight of prior art, or they're just plain patent trolls. Given that they waited until 2009 (9 years after the patent was issued!), I'm leaning toward the latter.

  • by Slothrup (73029) <curt.hagenlocher@org> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:44PM (#27065889)

    "Software Tree's partners include Microsoft, IBM, Borland, and Sun"

    Fixed that for you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:46PM (#27065919)

    6,163,776

    Link to US PTO United States Patent: 6,163,776 [uspto.gov]

  • Re:Fishy (Score:5, Informative)

    by smallfries (601545) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:48PM (#27065947) Homepage

    ObjectStore [wikipedia.org] came out in 1988. The version that we used back in 1998 definitely performed this mapping for C++ code. I don't know if it counts as prior art because I can't remember how it handled the schemata for the mapping.

  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:49PM (#27065971)

    "exchanging data and commands between an object oriented system and a relational system."

    This sounds familiar... hmmm.... ah.

    Fight fire with fire...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:50PM (#27065979)
    They can, because RedHat is selling/offering their software in that state.
  • by Bazzargh (39195) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:55PM (#27066033)

    In the patent application (dated 1998) they stated:
    One problem existing in the art is that there are no systems and methods to bridge the gap between the programming paradigm used for object-oriented systems and the programming paradigm used for relational systems.

    (from here on in you know there's going to be no prior art submitted that does exactly that, when in fact there was plenty.)

    Liar liar pants on fire. [google.co.uk]

  • by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:56PM (#27066049) Homepage

    Good catch. On top of that, as long as a company meets a few small requirements for developing on a Windows platform, they can become a Microsoft partner. It is not some secret club that goes around suing OSS companies on behalf of Microsoft.

  • TopLink (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @12:56PM (#27066061)

    There's also TopLink which was owned by Oracle for a while.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toplink [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:Fishy (Score:5, Informative)

    by ckaminski (82854) <ckaminski&pobox,com> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @01:07PM (#27066181) Homepage
    Disclaimer: I worked for ObjectStore for a while and for Progress (owner of ObjectStore) today.

    ObjectStore is NOT ORM. It is an OODBMS. Probably not quite what you want for prior art.
  • by uncreativeslashnick (1130315) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @01:29PM (#27066457)
    Biliski was about the patent office rejecting a patent appliation, not an invalidation of any existing patent. As such, Biliski stands for the proposition that the Patent Office can reject certain types of patents that are like the one considered in Biliski. Apparently the patent in question in TFA was filed and granted long before Biliski came out, so Biliski has no practical effect on that patent directly.

    Indirectly, one might argue that the patent should be invalid because of its nature, i.e. it never should have been granted. But that has to be done on a case-by-case basis for patents already granted.



    So the short answer is, no.
  • by Fozzyuw (950608) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @01:55PM (#27066841)

    Really? I was thinking it was from Idiocracy [imdb.com]. Though, they were both written and directed by Mike Judge, I don't recall "electrolytes" being used in that film.

    In Idiocracy, the future is dumb and they replaced all forms of water (except the toilet) with Gateraid(tm) like product and frequently promote it as better because it has "electrolytes". Including watering plants with it. Which happens to be destroying the crop population and no one can figure out why... except Luke Wilson, smartest man in the world. =P

    Happily bought this film for $6 for my show of support. =)

  • by uncreativeslashnick (1130315) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @01:59PM (#27066903)
    No offense, but your response makes little sense, probably because you don't understand the rules governing jurisdiction.

    If a Court "rejects" a case generally that means the case is over, period, and can't just be re-filed in another court. Of course it depends on how the court "rejects" the case because there are numerous ways a court can dispose of a case, a very few of which would allow refiling the case elsewhere.

    Jursidictional rules are complicated and there are already means for transfering the venue of the case when it makes more sense to litigate in a specific location. But when you're a company that sells software everywhere in the U.S., currently, you can be sued anywhere in the U.S.

    To solve the problem of forum shopping all you need to do is change the rule with respect to where the Plaintiff can file his case (e.g. change the rule so he can file either only in his home state or the defendant's home state). Of course there would be consequences to that kind of rule, pros and cons, etc., but it could be done.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:05PM (#27066989) Journal

    What was the intention of mentioning Microsoft and leaving out those partners? Is Microsoft a business partner at all?

    It's on the company info [softwaretree.com] page:

    "Software Tree is an ISV partner with Microsoft."

    Of course, all you have to do to get that status is to write software that works on Windows, and most shops that develop Windows software and sell it are registered MS ISV partners.

    Of course, the guys are also:

    "Software Tree is an IBM Solution Developer Program partner."

    "Software Tree is a technology partner with Borland."

  • by Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:29PM (#27067297)

    He's simply pointing out that it's an eerie coincidence that Microsoft is suing TomTom for linux code, and that this company is suing a Linux shop for O/R mapping at the same time.

    What exactly is the coincidence? That they happen to be one of thousands upon thousands of Microsoft partners?

    This patent troll could have filed suit against any number of companies, including Apple, Sun or Oracle all of which sell JavaEE middle tiers and make far more money on them.

    Hahaha fail. They already did file suit last year against Oracle over the exact same issue : www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuit.asp?id=35286

    # April 8 # Software Tree LLC vs. Oracle Corp. Plaintiff Software Tree claims it is the owner of U.S. Patent No. 6,163,776 issued Dec. 19, 2000, for a System and Method for Exchanging Data and Commands Between an Object Oriented System and Relational System. The original complaint states the '776 Patent was subject to a reexamination by the U.S. Patent Office which confirmed the patentability of all claims and amended some claims. The reexamination concluded on April 8, 2008. Software Tree claims that Oracle has infringed the '776 Patent through products including the Oracle TopLink. "Defendant has actual knowledge of the '776 Patent, and actual knowledge that the Oracle product known as Oracle TopLink product, and all other Oracle products that include TopLink, infringe the '776 Patent," the original complaint states. The plaintiff claims Oracle's knowledge is evidenced by correspondence dating back to early 2004 between Oracle and the inventor of the '776 Patent, who is also the president and CEO of Software Tree. "Instead of properly taking a license to the '776 Patent, Oracle engaged in a series of unsuccessful attempts to invalidate the '776 Patent through numerous meritless filings of ex-parte reexamination of the '776 Patent," the complaint states. "Despite its actual knowledge of the '776 Patent and its infringement of same, Oracle has continued to engage in its infringing conduct without a license." As a result of Oracle's alleged acts of infringement, Software Tree claims it has and will continue to sustain substantial damages in an amount not presently known. Software Tree is seeking injunctive relief, damages, lost profits, expenses, costs, attorneys' fees, treble damages, interest and other just and proper relief. Jeffrey Bragalone of Shore Chan Bragalone LLP in Dallas is attorney in charge for the plaintiff. Court assignment is pending. Case No. 6:08-cv-126

    Oh well, I guess that blows your coincidence theory out of the water, eh?

    Why did they pick RedHat? It smells fishy.

    Only because you are apparently ignorant of prior history do things look fishy.

  • Re:TopLink (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:41PM (#27067471)
    Actually this same company already filed suit against Oracle claiming that TopLink violated their patents. http://www.setexasrecord.com/news/210664-recent-patentcopyright-infringement-cases-filed-in-u.s.-district-courts [setexasrecord.com]

    Software Tree claims that Oracle has infringed the '776 Patent through products including the Oracle TopLink.

    "Defendant has actual knowledge of the '776 Patent, and actual knowledge that the Oracle product known as Oracle TopLink product, and all other Oracle products that include TopLink, infringe the '776 Patent," the original complaint states.

  • by retchdog (1319261) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @02:48PM (#27067531) Journal

    No, the narration explains that he wasn't smart enough (or, more accurately, educated enough) to figure out/know why. He just had a different tradition, one from an average ~105 IQ society instead of the miserable future.

    Rather amusingly, Idiocracy is itself a dumbed-down and toned-down adaptation of the short story "The Marching Morons" (1951): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Marching_Morons [wikipedia.org], which I recommend reading.

  • by Zapotek (1032314) <{tasos.laskos} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @03:27PM (#27067987) Homepage
    Well, not really.
    I was working on a small web dev firm a couple of years ago and we were MS partners.

    And we were not even writing in .Net, we only used OSS technologies (PHP/MySQL/FreeBSD).

    The only advantage was that they send MS Win/Office copies with lots of legit serials for us to use.
  • Re:Fishy (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @03:54PM (#27068337)

    "O RLY? They honestly want us to believe that they invented O/R mapping? Then what is this ACM paper from 1996?"

    So, I'm not a big fan of software patents and the like, but I do have some context on this particular issues.

    I reviewed Software Tree's IP and software for a VC in 1996 (prior to Software Tree's existence as a real company). At the time, they already had working versions of their ORM technology. This was a rather novel approach to mixing RDBMS and OOP. JBoss wasn't too far behind with similar technology and this paper is in the same timeframe. Now, I'm not saying for sure that they were the first, but they definitely had some internal inventions to back up a patent filing.

    (posting anonymously for obvious reasons)

  • Re:Fishy (Score:3, Informative)

    by legutierr (1199887) on Wednesday March 04, 2009 @05:05PM (#27069227)
    Well, here [wikipedia.org] is one ORM system that would probably qualify as prior art, having been released in 1994.

    Enterprise Objects is now bundled with Apple's Xcode as part of WebObjects. It's kind of ironic that Apple encourages WebObjects/EOF developers to deploy their applications on the JBoss application server, which also comes pre-installed on Mac OS X Server.

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