Red Hat Settles Patent Infringement Lawsuit

The original lawsuit was filed by Boxborough Mass.-based Firestar Software in 2006, which claimed Red Hat violated Firestar's patent relating to a method for interfacing an object-oriented software application with a relational database to facilitate access to it.

Specifically, Firestar contended that Hibernate, a product from Red Hat's JBoss division, infringed on its patent. The Firestar patent was assigned by Firestar to DataTern, which later became involved in the lawsuit. DataTern is funded by Amphion Innovations. The companies settled with Red Hat before the case was to be argued in the Eastern District of Texas.

Red Hat said in a statement that the settlement is a victory not only for the company, but for developers who use its products.

"Like most settlements, this one ends the specific lawsuit between the parties, but it does much more than that," Red Hat said in the statement. "It assures that upstream developers are protected against patent suits by DataTern and Amphion with respect to projects incorporated into Red Hat products. In addition, our distributors, customers, and anyone else who uses Red Hat products are protected with respect to Red Hat products."

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Red Hat said all products distributed under the Red Hat brand are covered, as well as upstream predecessor versions of those products. In addition, derivative works of/or combination products using covered products are protected from any patent claim.

Red Hat, Raleigh, N.C., still has to contend with another patent lawsuit filed by IP Innovation in Texas last October, alleging that Linux operating systems from Red Hat and Novell infringed on patents for "User interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects."

IP Innovation said its patents were used in the Red Hat Linux system; the Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop; and the Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.