SCO revisited? No, but Firestar sues Red Hat over Hibernate

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News: SCO revisited? No, but Firestar sues Red Hat over Hibernate

  1. In a move reminiscent of SCO's lawsuit over Linux source code, FireStar Software has sued Red Hat over patent violations in Hibernate3, saying that it violates a process for employing a relational database with object oriented software. The patent seems unenforceable for a lot of reasons, but it's still there. The patent, specifically, is U.S. Patent #6,101,502. You can (and should) look it up for specifics, but here's a summary from the patent:
    In accordance with the present invention, a mapping between an object model and a relational database and a runtime engine are employed to facilitate access to a relational database. The object model can be created from database schema or database schema can be created from the object model. Further, the mapping can be automatically generated. The database schema, object model, and mapping are employed to provide interface objects that are utilized by an object oriented software application to access the relational database. The present invention provides transparent access to the relational database. The interface objects and runtime engine perform read and write operations on the database, including generation of SQL code. Consequently, neither programmers nor software applications need have knowledge of the database structure, the database programming interface, database security, or the database transaction model in order to obtain access to the relational database. Further, changes to the relational database do not always necessitate additional mapping.
    This is an interesting patent to have, in the first place, and in the second place, it's interesting that FireStar should file for patent infringement against Hibernate, for a number of reasons. First, prior art: as Richard Monson-Haefel says in "Hibernate Law Suit will be Dismissed":
    FireStar submitted the patent in September 1997, but commerical O/R mapping system products (e.g. NeXT Enterprise Objects Framework) predate that filing. Also, you can find references to the design of O/R mapping going back even earlier. In the United States its the first-to-invent that matters; not the first-to-file as is the case in most other countries. The folks at FireStar didn't invent O/R mapping they were just the first to file a patent, which doesn't count. The Patent Infringement Suit against Red Hat over O/R mapping in Hibernate is not enforceable.
    The claim that previous art exists is actually understated by Mssr. Monson-Haefel. Such systems have existed for other languages (predating Java) including C, C++, Turbo Pascal, and others, although there are certainly specifics in this patent that may not apply. In addition, such a suit would have been triggered by Hibernate2, EJB 2, and other such products; a lawsuit now rather clearly implies that FireStar was waiting for an aquisition by a company with deep pockets before progressing with a lawsuit. Even considering the specifics, the patent mentions a DLL by name: RtCore.DLL. This implies that the FireStar product is implemented with native code, specifically for Windows, and according to the ObjectSpark technical requirements, this is indeed the case. Given that Hibernate, et al, are implemented in pure Java and are cross-platform, there are certainly huge elements of the lawsuit claiming damages that aren't relevant: deployments on any and all non-Windows systems cannot have harmed FireStar, because FireStar has no product or support structure for those operating systems. It's pretty clear to Your Humble Editor, even considering he is not a lawyer and won't pretend to be one (or play one on TV), that this lawsuit is an attempt to extort money through frivolous damages, much as SCO is attempting to extract damages from Novell over Linux source code. While either (or both) lawsuits may still have some success, either suit's success would be a huge loss for the programming community at large, implying that object models that are persisted to a relational datastore are held hostage by a company that few are aware of. For another view on the lawsuit, check InfoQ's post: Red Hat Sued Over Hibernate 3 ORM Patent Infringement Claim.

    Threaded Messages (31)

  2. Software Patent Crap[ Go to top ]

    Lawyer driven software development is so stupid.
  3. Patent claims and disappointing earnings, all in one week. Our friends at JBoss are getting a crash course in being a public company. Welcome to the big leagues. Eric
  4. Unfortunately the result depends on the decision of the "law student who graduated with the lowest GPA". :(
  5. Re: SCO revisited?[ Go to top ]

    ... and has kissed the highest ranking (legal and political) a**es in Washington ;-/
  6. My "favorite" part of the "patent"
    Having described the embodiments consistent with the present invention, other embodiments and variations consistent with the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention should not be viewed as limited to the disclosed embodiments but rather should be viewed as limited only by the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
    So all of you ORMs or psuedo-ORMs or home-grown ORMs or "Data Mappers" that believe that this suit wouldn't apply to you - don't get too excited. Unless, of course, you have no money. :)
  7. I have no time to read this as I am busy patenting the 'for loop'. Our patent systems is broken and it's only going to bget worse as the US goes to the European model.
  8. Loco about CocoBase[ Go to top ]

    Hmmm, a failing software company throwing out patent claims against Hibernate? Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah, I remember! FYI, the quoted post from Richard Monson-Haefel is not quite correct. If you look at the patent online, the filing date is September 1998, not 1997. A lot of us were using TopLink in September 1998.
  9. Re: Loco about CocoBase[ Go to top ]

    Ah, the memories! Thank you for that one. I knew this all seemed familiar. Good old Ward was one of my favorite early-days TSS characters. Rolf still took the cake, though. Of course, this was back in the day when Gavin didn't sound constantly pissed off:)
  10. Prior Art[ Go to top ]

    And TopLink came from a SmallTalk implementation. Lots of prior art...
  11. Coo coo for CoCoBase[ Go to top ]

    Oh yeah.....Ward Mullins. What a gem.
  12. Re: Loco about CocoBase[ Go to top ]

    I remember that thread too, the moment I really knew Ward had lost it (or was a complete knob) was when he said this:
    Maybe you just grew up in a disfunctional or alcoholic family where pointing out an abuse is responded to by a similar abuse - but copying and violating intellectual property is a CRIMINAL offense, not just a negative action.
  13. I have no time to read this as I am busy patenting the 'for loop'.

    Our patent systems is broken and it's only going to bget worse as the US goes to the European model.
    (?) I'm not well versed in legal matters either, but how is the 'European model' worse than the US model? To the best of my knowledge (which admittedly isn't that much, being a simple coder), the European model is much stricter in what it accepts and recent initiatives to align to the US model were succesfully blocked (thanks Poland). So how is the European model for software patents worse than the US model?
  14. I have no time to read this as I am busy patenting the 'for loop'.

    Our patent systems is broken and it's only going to bget worse as the US goes to the European model.


    (?) I'm not well versed in legal matters either, but how is the 'European model' worse than the US model? To the best of my knowledge (which admittedly isn't that much, being a simple coder), the European model is much stricter in what it accepts and recent initiatives to align to the US model were succesfully blocked (thanks Poland).

    So how is the European model for software patents worse than the US model?
    My understanding is that in the European model, all that matters is who first applies for the patent. In the current US system, if you can prove that you had the idea first you have certain methods of recourse to right the situation even if you were not the first to apply or the patent. I could be mistaken here but I believe that with the change, that will no longer be the case. Someone can steal your idea and patent it and you are SOL.
  15. Red Hat Q1 Earnings[ Go to top ]

    It's interesting that no one is posting about the quarter that Red Hat just posted. That is far bigger news than this patent issue. The core Red Hat business looks to be doing very well but the stock got a 10% hair cut this week, specifically because JBoss revenues were lower and expenses were higher than expected. It is still early stages but the honeymoon is definitely over for these guys. http://www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7B94546BA0%2D50D0%2D481E%2DAC00%2D8BA0839FBFF5%7D&source=blq%2Fyhoo&dist=yhoo&siteid=yhoo
  16. >My understanding is that in the European model, all that matters is who first applies for the patent.
    That is not true. Prior art does count, whether it is patented or not. Also, getting a software patent can be hard, since outright software patents are not allowed. That being said, there are "workarounds" for getting a software patent, mainly involving trying to make the claims neutral from a software-only implementation (ie. not excluding other types of implementations of the claims). When it comes to patents, the European system is by no means good, but it is considerably less broken than the US one.
  17. When it comes to patents, the European system is by no means good, but it is considerably less broken than the US one.
    It should perhaps also be noted that there are local variations in patent systems across the european country, although the EU is trying to harmonize things. So what I say may not be universally applicable in all member countries.
  18. Patents in Europe[ Go to top ]

    When it comes to patents, the European system is by no means good, but it is considerably less broken than the US one.
    It should perhaps also be noted that there are local variations in patent systems across the european country, although the EU is trying to harmonize things. So what I say may not be universally applicable in all member countries.
    Recently I read in a local European newspaper about a consultancy (from the US?) that encourages companies to patent trivialities without "false shame". On the other hand the same consultancy offers access to a pool of 7000 russian scientists that would circumvent any existing patent (for a handful of dollars). Welcome to brave new patent world!
  19. I have no time to read this as I am busy patenting the 'for loop'.

    Our patent systems is broken and it's only going to bget worse as the US goes to the European model.


    (?) I'm not well versed in legal matters either, but how is the 'European model' worse than the US model? To the best of my knowledge (which admittedly isn't that much, being a simple coder), the European model is much stricter in what it accepts and recent initiatives to align to the US model were succesfully blocked (thanks Poland).

    So how is the European model for software patents worse than the US model?


    My understanding is that in the European model, all that matters is who first applies for the patent. In the current US system, if you can prove that you had the idea first you have certain methods of recourse to right the situation even if you were not the first to apply or the patent. I could be mistaken here but I believe that with the change, that will no longer be the case. Someone can steal your idea and patent it and you are SOL.
    I think this is more the canadian model.
  20. SCO, while involved in some litigation with Novell, is primarily seeking damages from IBM. As for firestar, their claim is absurd.
  21. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-) http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/
    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.
  22. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-)

    http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/

    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.
    JBoss never sued anybody.
  23. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-)

    http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/

    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.


    JBoss never sued anybody.
    So is Rickard misinformed here, or lying?
  24. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-)

    http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/

    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.


    JBoss never sued anybody.
    http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?thread_id=29958
  25. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-)

    http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/

    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.


    JBoss never sued anybody.


    http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?thread_id=29958
    Interesting. I suppose their lawyers would remember how many threatening letters and/or law suits they produced.
  26. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-)

    http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/

    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.


    JBoss never sued anybody.


    http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?thread_id=29958
    No lawsuit there either.
  27. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-)

    http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/

    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.


    JBoss never sued anybody.


    http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?thread_id=29958


    No lawsuit there either.
    Bill is actually quite correct. Why go to court when threats will do the job. Cleaner and cheaper.
  28. I am not afraid for JBoss because they haven't been shy about suing other people either ;-)

    http://thejbossissue.blogspot.com/

    To be sued for that excellence is quite outrageous.


    JBoss never sued anybody.


    http://www.theserverside.com/news/thread.tss?thread_id=29958


    No lawsuit there either.


    Bill is actually quite correct. Why go to court when threats will do the job. Cleaner and cheaper.
    Well, then the only difference here is that Red Hat wouldn't settle, since it has enough money not to be intimidated. But it's the same thing.
  29. One out of two developers who have ever built database-oriented programs has done something like this. The whole point of Hibernate and other dedicated ORM systems is to free normal app developers from reimplementing the same thing again and again.
  30. Just Say No to software patents![ Go to top ]

    The title says it all. Software patents are sure fire way to stifle innovation.
  31. This is exactly why software patents shouldn't be allowed. All it does is encourage baseless lawsuite, like the whole blackberry thing. They really should have some stiff penalties for bringing these cases.
  32. Ugly business meets ugly lawyer.That's all.