Red Hat Smooths Over Troubled Patent Waters

Red Hat is no stranger to the problem of software patents, and will likely continue to endure conflict with them long into the future. Two of its troubles, however, disappeared today, as Red Hat announced that it has settled patent-infringement lawsuits with DataTern Inc. and Firestar Software Inc. — the latter ongoing since 2006.

Though the terms of the settlements have not been revealed, the most frequent settlement for infringement suits is the purchase of a license to the patent in question. Such a move would be tricky for Red Hat, however, as patent licenses are often incompatible with the requirements of open licensing, making it difficult to secure a license which can be freely distributed to users. The Firestar lawsuit concerned patents related to object-oriented software and relational databases, while the DataTern patent also covers database systems. Both Firestar and DataTern are subsidiaries of UK-based Amphion Innovations, a publicly-traded venture capital firm.

Red Hat, along with Novell, continues to fight patent-infringement charges from IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corporation, a subsidiary of alleged patent troll Acacia Technologies.

______________________

Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.