Red Hat Settles Patent Suit, Protects Users

Lora Bentley

More from the litigation front: Red Hat has settled patent litigation that has been pending against it for two years.


Firestar Software sued Red Hat in 2006 shortly after the JBoss acquisition was complete, alleging that certain JBoss technology infringed its patents. DataTern added its own patent infringement claims later. From the beginning, Red Hat has denied the infringment. Wednesday, the company announced the parties have reached settlement.


And if you think Red Hat is giving in by settling, think again. As blogger Matt Asay points out:

Red Hat's policy protects upstream and downstream users of its software, regardless of whether they signed a patent agreement with Red Hat. Red Hat competitors like Novell benefit. Red Hat customers benefit. The open-source community at large benefits. This is how to do a patent agreement.

In other words, says Red Hat's Richard Fontana, open source and patent counsel:

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.

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