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Red Hat Hit With Patent Suit Over JBoss

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the at-least-it's-not-about-perfume dept.

Patents 201

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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201 comments

Civil Procedure Question (3, Interesting)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065823)

If the company you are suing is incorporated in one state, and you, the plaintiff, is in another - can you sue in a third state that has no party resident within it, just because it's a "paradise", full of hang-em-high judges?

IANAL, as you may suspect.

Re:Civil Procedure Question (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065979)

They can, because RedHat is selling/offering their software in that state.

Re:Civil Procedure Question (4, Funny)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066827)

They can, because RedHat is selling/offering their software in that state.

Note to self: When I start selling my software, refuse to sell it in Texas.

Re:Civil Procedure Question (1)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067365)

I smell a good cost/benefit analysis brewing. How much money would you lose by not selling a product in a state as large as Texas? How much would you save by eliminating Texas as a location in which a patent troll could file suit against you for infringement? Sure, if you were sued elsewhere you would still have to spend millions on litigation, but if your liklihood of a successful defense is greater sans Texas, might it be worthwhile?

Re:Civil Procedure Question (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065985)

If the company you are suing is incorporated in one state, and you, the plaintiff, is in another - can you sue in a third state that has no party resident within it

I think it depends on where "they" (is "they" the company suing or being sued? Or both?) do business, not just where they're incorporated. If my company is based in Delaware and yours is based in California, and we meet in Kansas to actually do business, why wouldn't we be able to use the Kansas courts if one of us got ripped off? That would be where the supposed ripping-off actually happened.

Re:Civil Procedure Question (2, Interesting)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066113)

As always: IANAL, but I do remember the class in business law I took... For whatever that's worth.

The statement that stuck with me in that class is, you go after them wherever they do their business. If they're based in New York, you go to New York cause that's the state that would have to most jurisdiction and ability to uphold whatever the ruling is.

Re:Civil Procedure Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065993)

Generally speaking, a company must have had minimum contacts with a state before it can be sued their. These minimum contacts will be satisfied if they have sold products in that jurisdiction, or offer to sale products there.

Even if the forum is jurisdictionally satisfactory, however, it might not be the most convenient for the parties, and some courts will transfer the case to a more convenient location. Generally, the Eastern District of Texas would not transfer, however, the Fifth Circuit just reversed a recent ruling in a patent case against Microsoft, so venue transfers might become more prevelent.

Re:Civil Procedure Question (2, Insightful)

uncreativeslashnick (1130315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066249)

The question of which jurisdiction a business can be sued in is complicated, and depends on a lot of factors and tests. But basically, in federal court, you can generally sue a business wherever it does business, or whever the incident giving rise to the litigation occurred. The party being sued can try to change the venue, but the grounds would be something like, there's a better venue where more witnesses are located or something like that. Arguing that the jurisdiction is "plaintiff's paradise" won't pass muster.

If you're a large software company and you sell your software in every state in the union, you can be sued in ever state in the union, basically.

Re:Civil Procedure Question (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066541)

These are Federal courts, so it's easier to cherry pick ... it's all in the USA after all.

Untied States Patent (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065843)

Untied States Patent #078957284370958240976548037689725, Method and Apparatus for Initiating a Loud Communication Between a Liberal and a Conservative:
 
The Liberal says, "The government should pay for it!" The Conservative says, "Throw grandma down the stairs and out into the street!" A loud communication thus begins between the two.

I am going to sue every liberal and conservative in the country and seek an injunction to prevent them from talking to each other unless they pay me royalties.

Re:Untied States Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067087)

All they have to do to win is show up wearing a tie, duh!

LOL marketing speak (5, Funny)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065877)

According to its Web site, Software Tree specializes in "providing superior software infrastructure that shifts the application/database integration paradigm."

Well if nothing else they've definitely got the marketing speak down.

Re:LOL marketing speak (5, Funny)

von_rick (944421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065929)

Its got what market craves. Its got electrolytes.

Re:LOL marketing speak (0)

Xerolooper (1247258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066189)

Its got what market craves. Its got electrolytes.

Do you even know what electrolytes are?

~long pause~...~looks confused~

There what market craves.?

Re:LOL marketing speak (1, Funny)

Dawn Keyhotie (3145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066319)

It's from that "Office Space" movie, where Marty had to go back in time and use the Schwartz to prevent President Lincoln from being assassinated by Lee Harvey Wallbanger.

Cheers!

Re:LOL marketing speak (4, Informative)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 5 years ago | (#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. =)

Re:LOL marketing speak (3, Informative)

retchdog (1319261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067531)

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.

easy change of venue (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065879)

Since the plaintiff is, according to their own web site, based in California [softwaretree.com] , RedHat can argue for a change of venue quite easily.


"Founded in 1997, Software Tree, LLC is a Silicon Valley based company"

Re:easy change of venue (1)

theredshoes (1308621) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066075)

For having such a professional headquarters in SC, I think ST need to worry about redesigning their website. They should sue the person that designed that for them!

Re:easy change of venue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067013)

Looks like someone took a crap on the T in tree.

Fishy (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065887)

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.

Re:Fishy (4, Informative)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065947)

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.

Re:Fishy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066093)

Cool. Let JBoss know about this to pass on to their defence lawyers. Won't do any good here.

Considering how old OO languages are, and how old relational databases are, and how TRIVIAL O/R mapping is, there is probably a plethora of 80s prior art, but it can't hurt.

Re:Fishy (5, Informative)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066181)

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.

Re:Fishy (2, Interesting)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067189)

Then you might know of a product called PowerTier [internet.com] , later renamed to DataXtend CE [progress.com] . That was an ORM for C++ and Java from Persistence, which was also acquired by Progress. We started using that at version 5 or 6 around 2000/2001 time frame.

Re:Fishy (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067479)

as the summary states ...patent for 'exchanging data and commands between an object oriented system and a relational system. all you need is to prove that your OODB can be accessed from a relational programming language or system. Job done!

TopLink (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066061)

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

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

Re:TopLink (5, Informative)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Fishy (1)

mrphoton (1349555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066303)

I've just had a look through there web page. It would _appear_ that they are a proper company with products and customers. It would seem to be a miscalculation to take on RedHat though. (Although I know nothing about the law....)

Re:Fishy (1)

1gig (102295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066707)

Well you know the typical problem. How can you compete with Hibernate(free) especially when you are charging 3k per dev/tester to essentially do the same thing Hibernate does for you.

Re:Fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067373)

Here's a timeline I found in about 2 seconds courtesy of Google that shows TopLink selling an O/R mapping tool for Smalltalk in 1994:

http://www.jroller.com/agoncal/entry/a_brief_history_of_object

I think there were competing products even earlier than that. I know of at least two others from this era, a product called ObjectCore 2000 for Smalltalk from American Management Systems (AMS) and a product called Synchronicity for Enfin Smalltalk (know know as ObjectStudio Smalltalk and owned by Cincom Systems in Ohio).

Yay for selective quoting! (5, Informative)

Slothrup (73029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065889)

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

Fixed that for you.

Re:Yay for selective quoting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066027)

Yeah, fucking Borland patent trolling Linux again, just like with SCO...

Wait, what?

Re:Yay for selective quoting! (4, Informative)

duplicate-nickname (87112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066049)

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.

Re:Yay for selective quoting! (4, Funny)

INeededALogin (771371) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066089)

Not sure what you are trying to say. Nobody here has an anti-Microsoft agenda.

Re:Yay for selective quoting! (5, Insightful)

benjymouse (756774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066123)

Only their website doesn't even mention Microsoft as a partner. IBM, Borland, Sun and Oracle are mentioned as partners, though, with contact details.

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

I hate software patents. But summaries like this blatantly trying to skew facts to weasel in hints of a grand Microsoft conspiracy does the fight against software patents disservice.

What a crook. Bad! I had to look twice because I fully expected this to be a "kdawson". Not this time, though.

Re:Yay for selective quoting! (3, Interesting)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066215)

What a crook. Bad! I had to look twice because I fully expected this to be a "kdawson". Not this time, though.

I'd put money down that the "anonymous reader" that wrote the summary was actually kdawson.

Re:Yay for selective quoting! (4, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066989)

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."

Lawsuit. (-1, Redundant)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065903)

According to its Web site, Software Tree specializes in "providing superior software infrastructure that shifts the application/database integration paradigm."

Oh boy! I'm going to have to file a lawsuit against Software Tree because they are violating my patent on superior software infrastructure and my other patent that shifts application and database integration paradigm.

Tinfoil hat conspiracy theory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065911)

Kind of funny timing how this suit, filed by a company partnered with Microsoft, comes barely a week after MS sues TomTom for patent infringements in their implementation of the Linux kernel.

East Texas (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065913)

East Texas is a hell hole.

Re:East Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27067061)

Really? I thought Hell was where eastern Texans went for vacation.

Patent mentioned in article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065919)

6,163,776

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

Wasn't Bilski supposed to have stopped these??? (4, Interesting)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065925)

I'm no lawyer but wasn't the Bilski decision supposed to put an end to these software patent lawsuits & (essentially) invalidate software patents? Software patents don't deal with "machines" or "transformations", so I'm confused as to how these continue... Or is the Bilski case waiting to have their day in front of the US Supreme Court and such cases will continue until a ruling comes down from SCOTUS...

Re:Wasn't Bilski supposed to have stopped these??? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27065941)

No, that was simply the fevered hope of many open source criminals who seek to profit off the hard work and innovation of others.

Weak attempt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066155)

Seriously, you expect anyone to bite on that?

I miss the olden days when you had quality trolls around here. This...this is just pathetic.

It could've been more pathetic (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066341)

He didn't use any of the following words:

GNAA, pervert, gun, democrat, republicans, bigot, Apple, IBM, Linux, Microsoft, Windows, black, white, Nazi, or Hitler, and his message was short enough to not hit the default "read more..." limit.

I give him points for being succinct and avoiding inflammatory language.

Re:Weak attempt (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066715)

I appreciated the classic Adequacy style, at least. Brought back memories!

Re:Wasn't Bilski supposed to have stopped these??? (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066557)

No, that was simply the fevered hope of many open source criminals who seek to profit off the hard work and innovation of others.

Like those programmers who work hard for open source projects?

Falcon

Re:Wasn't Bilski supposed to have stopped these??? (4, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066675)

it's closed source DMCA protected software. There's no way law abiding programmers could see the source code and most of the key developers in these cases have too little time to reverse engineer other people's products.

In short a person "skilled in the art" saw some trade magazine article about a products general function and recreated it without looking... that's pretty much the definition of "general knowledge" as applied to patents.

Re:Wasn't Bilski supposed to have stopped these??? (3, Informative)

uncreativeslashnick (1130315) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Wasn't Bilski supposed to have stopped these??? (2, Interesting)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066747)

I'm no lawyer but wasn't the Bilski decision supposed to put an end to these software patent lawsuits & (essentially) invalidate software patents? Software patents don't deal with "machines" or "transformations", so I'm confused as to how these continue... Or is the Bilski case waiting to have their day in front of the US Supreme Court and such cases will continue until a ruling comes down from SCOTUS...

Not exactly. Bilski did set up a new test for patentable subject matter, the "machine or transformation" test you noted, but it's not clear whether this shoots down software patents entirely (since programming a general-purpose computer with the software involved may make it a "specific machine" for the purposes of Bilski), and in any case, Bilski's only immediate effect is to prevent new patents from being issued that don't pass this test. Existing patents remain in force, even if they wouldn't have passed the machine or transformation test, until a court or the USPTO specifically rules them invalid. That doesn't happen until the patent is challenged.

If Bilski is read to invalidate software patents generally, then it would be very dangerous for Software Tree to bring this suit, since Red Hat could simply ask to the judge to rule the patent invalid. Since Bilski isn't clearly defined to do this, suits like this are still going to keep happening.

Woahh... (3, Interesting)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065951)

So... If I understand correctly : every OO program that talk with a relational database is guilty?...

no more comments...

Re:Woahh... (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066905)

Good thing most of us programmers suck at OO programming, this ensures the patent will never fly.

Prior art? BO vs. Cognos (4, Informative)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27065971)

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

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

Fight fire with fire...

Re:Prior art? BO vs. Cognos (4, Interesting)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066063)

Furthermore... they seem to be trying to patent what TopLink [oracle.com] was already doing prior to 1996 [wikipedia.org] .

For those who care, TopLink has now been opensourced as EclipseLink [eclipse.org]

No ORM? In 1998? Yeah, right. (3, Informative)

Bazzargh (39195) | more than 5 years ago | (#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]

More ORM patents? (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066071)

Another ORM patent? They were hit with one of these back in 2006. http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/06/30/0451221 [slashdot.org]

After a quick glance through the patent (applied for in 1998) I fail to see how the claims differ from previous published work, but the claims are many, and the patent is long.

bad mojo. very bad mojo. (1, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066183)

do these people ever think, what will the public perception about their own products, website, whatever software they produced and will produce in future, be in the underground scene ? after they do this stunt ?

i mean, this is basically like raising a flag saying 'im an enemy of open source, come, get me'. EVEN if you are not.

underground scene doesnt hesitate from taking down fbi, cia, nasa, whatever web sites, and they produce a lot more viruses, trojans to hamper the companies perceived as 'evil'.

this even plagues microsoft. what will such a perception do to a small software company which does not have the resources to cope up with such setbacks ?

very stupid move in my opinion. internet is made of people. and people decide what's good or what's bad. if they decide that you are bad or evil, you are in deep trouble.

noone can fight 'the people'. regardless of what laws or rules of ethics or whatever philosophy says. you put out laws, if people think they are unfair or invalid, they dont obey them. you shell out punishments, yet they still disobey them. you say something is unethical or immoral, but people still do them. the people define what's moral, what's immoral, what's to do and what's not to do. you cant fight that.

Re:bad mojo. very bad mojo. (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066293)

If they are a patent troll, then they don't need and probably don't even have a web site to attack. They only need a web site if they have a legitimate product that they need to market and sell -- in which case they probably also have a right to protect their patent.

Re:bad mojo. very bad mojo. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066885)

Sure, and think of all the good publicity for open source when it's associated with illegal activity!

Re:bad mojo. very bad mojo. (1)

germ!nation (764234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067045)

Do you think that more than a few tens of thousands of people will ever care or that more than a few hundred thousand people in the world will ever hear about it or know what it means?

This is not an area where public perception matters. There's no publicity, just a quick (and in the grand scheme of things) quiet buck to me made if possible.

Re:bad mojo. very bad mojo. (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067191)

Regardless of the actual merits of their lawsuit, are you seriously advocating that a business not defend a patent because F/OSS supporters (me included) might not like it?

I get your point that most lawsuits like this usually result in bad PR for the plaintiffs, but you have to figure that they are doing this because of 1 of 2 possible scenarios:

A) They are not patent trolling, but really, firmly believe that they have a legit grievance. Regardless of the outcome, they feel they need to defend their turf, their IP, their way of making a living.

or B) They are patent trolls, in which case they don't give a damn about our opinion anyway. They are going to sue, hoping for a multi-million dollar judgement or settlement and licensing agreement, and the chances of snagging that pot of gold far outweighs the risk of pissing off Slashdot.

Crack down on forum shopping (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066279)

That court, and all federal courts, should start rejecting all suits from or against companies where neither party's main presence is in this court's jurisdiction.

Unless one of the party's principal business is in the Eastern District, the court should say "have you tried the courts where you and the defendant are principally located first?" and accept only cases where

1) those courts rejected the case for whatever reason and
2) the case would not be rejected if the companies were located in the Eastern District of Texas.

This would allow limited forum shopping in cases where "local" courts dismissed the case out of hand, but would not allow shopping just to get a more favorable jury or judge.

In the alternative, simply dismiss all cases that aren't the principle address of either party. However, that might take an act of Congress.

Re:Crack down on forum shopping (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066741)

That court, and all federal courts, should start rejecting all suits from or against companies where neither party's main presence is in this court's jurisdiction.

Redhat does business in Texas, and that's what counts.

Falcon

Re:Crack down on forum shopping (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067337)

Understood, Falcon, but I think David's point was that this should be changed, such that "doing business in XX jurisdiction" is no longer sufficient, and instead the main criterion for choosing a litigation forum would be "having a principal place of business" (i.e. David's "main presence") in that jurisdiction.

Cheers,

Re:Crack down on forum shopping (2, Informative)

uncreativeslashnick (1130315) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Changing the rules (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067209)

Yes, that's what I am proposing. I don't know who makes the rules in the Federal system, whether it's just Congress, or whether it's the courts or themselves or their respective appellate courts as it is in some states.

Re:Crack down on forum shopping (3, Interesting)

Bobb9000 (796960) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067081)

While it doesn't go that far, there's a bill just introduced in Congress that would make forum shopping like this more difficult. The Patent Reform Act of 2009 would mean, in part:

Patent Litigation Venue: "A party shall not manufacture venue by assignment, incorporation, or otherwise to invoke the venue of a specific district court." Venue is only proper were (a) defendant is incorporated; (b) defendant has its principle place of business; (c) where the defendant is permanently located and has committed substantial acts of infringement; or (d) where the plaintiff resides if the plaintiff is a nonprofit or individual inventor. The court should transfer venue to avoid evidentiary burdens when transfer can be accomplished without causing undue hardship to the plaintiff."

(From Patently-O [patentlyo.com] )

Why doesn't this threaten everyone? (3, Interesting)

ggraham412 (1492023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066345)

I've been writing custom data access layers since 2001, and they all have components that vaguely resemble this: http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/patog/week15/OG/html/1329-2/US06163776-20080408.html [uspto.gov] . There needs to be a test that goes beyond "prior art" for software patents. Namely, if a software solution is obvious given the problem and the tools, then it should not be patentable. Otherwise, patent law does not advance the common good, it merely makes programming more expensive/less productive.

Re:Why doesn't this threaten everyone? (1)

smartr (1035324) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066601)

No kidding... This is a patent on basically translating one computer language to another. If this holds, it would be just as plausible to patent compiling code to a different architecture. Trying to make a compiler for a new language to different architecture? Oh snap, a patent troll got it. This is an attack on Hibernate, as far as I can tell, which is basically the most widely used ORM out there...

Re:Why doesn't this threaten everyone? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067091)

A system for exchanging data between an object-oriented system and a relational system having tables defining a relational model, the system comprising:

at least one object class definition defining an object model;

an object relational mapping (ORM) data structure defining a mapping between the object model and the relational model, the object relational mapping data structure produced from a declarative ORM Specification based on an ORM grammar and from object model information derived using a reflection facility of a programming language; and

an exchange unit for translating data from the object model to the relational model and for translating data from the relational model to the object model.

This is not, as you say, "basically translating one computer language to another". This is a connection methodology between two specific types of systems: a relational database and an object oriented system using at least one class to map between the two.

While this could be "an attack on Hibernate", it has nothing and is in no way applicable to what you have described in the rest of your post.

Re:Why doesn't this threaten everyone? (2, Interesting)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066901)

The problem is copyrights and trade secrets. In "steel and stone" patents, product difference are quite apparent, arguing that your product does something different, or even "different enough" is relatively easy as you can point to the parts and demonstrate the actions to the judge. Often a company pays a small fee, then goes back with a "different enough" design to satisfy the judge that infringement is not occurring, then everybody moves on.

With software, it's never about the "parts" or the source code, it's always about end function. A moped and a tractor-trailer are the same thing on paper.. both have motors and carry people.. but in reality they are way different. There's no such "common sense" test for software, especially when dealing with higher-level things like databases and object oriented. On paper they may do the same thing, but in reality they may differ quite wildly.. These cases never get down to source code and flow charts and architectures because those are "trade secrets"... but cornerstone to the case of patent infringement.

Re:Why doesn't this threaten everyone? (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066921)

There needs to be a test that goes beyond "prior art" for software patents. Namely, if a software solution is obvious given the problem and the tools, then it should not be patentable.

There is a test for non-obviousness [wikipedia.org] . The "Supreme Court [cnet.com] loosens patent 'obviousness' test"

Falcon

Re:Why doesn't this threaten everyone? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067179)

This may, in fact, threaten all systems that use a similar set up and haven't paid for a license. This could be a first step lawsuit testing the waters to go after larger companies.

Otherwise, patent law does not advance the common good, it merely makes programming more expensive/less productive.

The common good is not merely programming and decisions as to whether or not patent law advances the common good can not be restricted solely to matters concerning programming.

Shut down the "plaintiff's paradise" (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066397)

If we changed the licenses (e.g. GPL) to specifically forbid the distribution or use of the software in East Texas, would patent trolls still be able to file lawsuits there? It seems to me the "patent plaintiff-friendly" court's business plan has a serious design flaw...

Why stop there... (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066587)

Why not forbid distribution of GPL software in any country software patents all together... ?
</sarcasm>

By the way, the GPL is not an EULA and cannot dictate terms of usage, only distribution!
Anyway, I assume you're joking, because the GPL is all about giving users freedom, not protecting yourself from being sued...

A Trend, TomTom, RedHat Guitiarez (3, Insightful)

omb (759389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066403)

There is a distinct sense of __non__coincedence__ in the air, the stink of M$ and rotten US corporatism and lack of effective regulation and enforcement of honest transparent business practices.

In spite of what Rob Endele has said this is enemy action, "Once is coincedence ..."

The US legal system, as I have said before, needs to brace up and get its act together on vexatious corporate litigation and to adopt the 'Costs in cause' rule so small defendants with a strong case will always defend. I look to senior academic lawyers, and the appelate benches of the Federal Appeal Circuit and the Supreme Court, which does not require legislation or a specific case but can be delt with by practice direction, to take a lead on this.

Those responsible for business competitiveness, especially in the EU need to do more. At minimum re-opening the M$ anti-trust investigations which I hope TomTom press for, from the Netherands. The State Attorneys and US Justice Department should also re-open the Anti-Trust suit compliance issue, especially after the discovered and proven complicity of M$ in the meritless SCO litigation.

The EU should also raise this as a WTO issue. Indeed the rational reaction is to say to US "We will hold all enforcement and co-operation on IP issues until you have reformed your broken Patent and Copyright systems" and stand firmly against term extension as the rest of the world needs the innovation effect of time limited IP rights. We should no-longer tolerate the East Texas fiasco and put as much back pressure on the US to end this legal corruption, which is, by no-means, too strong a description.

This can be effected by amicus-curia briefs by Commerce and Justice and by making it clear to these judges that all their decisions will be appealed until they resign or retire. They have done enough damage.

And no, after the Economic Crisis largely created by US corporate malfeasance, greed and lack of transperency the rest of the world needs to say 'enough' loudly, and refuse to toady or further pander to the economic nonsense, from the lunatic right, in Washington, which has done so much to damage the world economy.

Re:A Trend, TomTom, RedHat Guitiarez (1)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066619)

What exactly does Microsoft have to do at all with this case? Because they were the only ones mentioned in a selective quoting of the article that also mentioned that they are partners with Borland, Sun and IBM? Sadly the parent's post will probably be modded +5 interesting or informative despite have no relevance at all to the case at hand.

Re:A Trend, TomTom, RedHat Guitiarez (1)

ink (4325) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067115)

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. 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. Why did they pick RedHat? It smells fishy.

Re:A Trend, TomTom, RedHat Guitiarez (2, Informative)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:A Trend, TomTom, RedHat Guitiarez (1, Insightful)

omb (759389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067235)

I am sorry, it has every relevance, I dont know where you spend your time, but M$ is a convicted corporate anti-trust criminal in both the US and EU. Had government sponsored corruption and purchased political influence peddling not intervened the problem would have been solved 10 years ago and people like Software Tree LLC would realise that meritless and vexatious litigation would just get them a huge bill.

I make two quite separate points:

1. I do not trust coincidence hand have been in the business long enough to recognize a corporate FUD campaign, which is just what this is, a mile away. The fact that you instantly Astroturfed my comment simply confirms my opinion.

2. Unless, like many in the US you dont get it, we, the rest of the World have had more than enough of your criminally corrupt business practices, stupid ideas like IP and strong arming other governments and international bodies. OOXML and ISO anybody?

The underlying theme is that a flacid US legal system, without say 'Costs in cause' but also strict time limits harms everyone. Someone, say the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, needs to take on the task of revising the Civil Procedure Rules to stop people gaming the system. In Switzerland it wouldnt last a day and in the UK, also anglo-saxon common law the defendant could move for dismissal as 'frivalous and vexatious and showing no reasonable cause of action' and a Master, subject to Appeal of course, would simply dismiss the action. Timeline 56 days, not years like SCO. This is terribly serious since the legal system must act as arbitrator of seroius enforcement.

The same is true with the SEC, Wall Street and the markets, stupid and corrupt de-regulation did not, as advertised, free the market. It opened up a playground for crooks, con-men and egotistical idiots.

The rules you have now (a) allowing short selling without up-tick, and (b) Mark-to-Market form the basis for a perpetual motion machine to export taxpayers money into traders hands, why do you think the market is volatile?

If the entire US regulatory system, SEC + Justice + Courts were doing their job it would be credibly understood that the next guy failing to deliver on a (naked) short sell would spend 25-life in Fort Levenworth the market would calm in a few weeks. Both the President and the Congress need to properly uphold their oaths of office and help clean up this mess so efficiency and competence rule, without partizanship and delay.

Anti-trust, and perjury are serious, and it is only politics that kept some senior members of the M$ board out of jail. They have two strikes against them already!

Re:A Trend, TomTom, RedHat Guitiarez (1)

Ninnle Labs, LLC (1486095) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067393)

I am sorry, it has every relevance, I dont know where you spend your time, but M$ is a convicted corporate anti-trust criminal in both the US and EU.

Nonsequitur at it's finest. The company filing suit isn't Microsoft and as such the fact that they happen to be one among thousands of Microsoft partners doesn't mean that Microsoft is involved.

Re:A Trend, TomTom, RedHat Guitiarez (1)

omb (759389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067485)

Sorry to reply to myself, but of course, the Bilski decision means that

(a) in TomTom, the (V)FAT patents fail the test

(b) in Software Tree LLC, the wording of the patent, on its face

means that a Master (Magistrate Judge in US) can decide, on the pleadings, that the plaint " ... discloses no reasonable cause of action" and can dismiss the action at the interlocutory phase therby stopping the Trolls in their tracks.

Is Microsoft involved? (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067049)

There is a distinct sense of __non__coincedence__ in the air, the stink of M$ and rotten US corporatism and lack of effective regulation and enforcement of honest transparent business practices.

Where's your evidence Microsoft is involved. And about that part about corporations, you do know that Redhat [google.com] is a corporations too? So is Dell [google.com] and Hewlett-Packard [google.com] , both of which are also named as defendants.

I don't like MS but I have not seen evidence MS is involved, unlike the SCO case.

Falcon

how many claims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066489)

IANAL.

The patent in question contains 42 claims. Which of those claims does the JBoss software allegedly violate?

Only claims 1, 16, 17, 18, 22, 28, 32, 36, and 40 are even worded as if they might be independent claims. Many of those reuse terms that would appear to be defined in earlier claims, which from a lay reading means they might be considered dependent claims.

The wording "in which the exchange unit further comprises" in claim #2 would seem to put a limit on how the "exchange unit" is defined. Are there such things as mutually dependent claims? This language is used repeatedly throughout the document. Does this language narrow the previous claims or is the hope merely that these claims will stand even if the claims they reference do not?

I don't see how the claims that reference earlier claims directly could stand on their own. If a system such as what claim 1 isn't unique and non-obvious, then how can a "system of claim 1, wherein..." be unique and non-obvious? Wouldn't an improvement of an obvious invention need to be the scope of all the claims?

Does this all boil down to claim 1?

Re:how many claims? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066657)

IANAL2. ASL?

All your database are belong to us.... (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066559)

Set us up the patent.

Deja Vu all over again? (1)

kjj (32549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066627)

Didn't Red Hat put this behind them with this settlement? http://www.press.redhat.com/2008/07/15/a-readers-guide-to-the-firestar-settlement/ [redhat.com]

What is the good of making a settlement like this that was suppose to protect everybody when the next troll comes along? Red Hat should have not just given in and settled the previous case, because now every other joker with a patent related to ORM will come after them.

Re:Deja Vu all over again? (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066985)

From the Firestar settlement:

Section 1.10 defines Licensed Patents to include Specified Patents, which are in turn defined in Section 1.22 to include U.S. Patent No. 6,101,502, U.S. Patent No. 5,937,402, U.S. Patent No. 5,826,268, U.S. Patent No. 5,542,078, and U.S. Patent No. 5,522,077, and any other patent owned, controlled, or enforceable by DataTern before the effective date, any patent issuing from or claiming priority to a pending patent application by DataTern, and any foreign counterpart of the listed patents.

FTFA:

Software Tree claims the patent in question, U.S. Patent No. 6,163,776, was awarded in December of 2000.

Different company and different patents, so, the answer is "no".

Prior art (myself -1980 ) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066697)

me at age 12 making the commodore vic20 to use a dbase i designed and/for storing data on tape drive for use in my games,
this included my own zork like game which had parsing of sentance structures and a hockey game which kept player and user data and scores on the tape.

As copyright exists at time of creation and when you create something you are in effect its creator i would hazard that these guys and the recent suits are part of the mpaa riaa prong attack aimed at developers.
TRYING TO KILL innovation will never succeed it only brings real developing into the underground WHERE YOU CANT HAVE IT.
So remember folks HACKERS/PIRATES of the world UNITE.
and yes hackers are coders and hackers are crackers and hackers all ...12 definitions.

Re:Prior art (myself -1980 ) (1)

Shardis (198372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067165)

Are you sure you're not 12 now?

Sorry, just basing off your idiot punctuation and most obvious sense of naivete and "'leetness".

Software Tree vs. Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27066767)

Software Tree is also suing Oracle for patent infringement in E. Texas. I believe the suit was filed about a year ago.

It covers almost everything (2, Insightful)

Corson (746347) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066811)

"exchanging data and commands between an object oriented system and a relational system." -- that covers pretty much every OOP sofware that communicates with a database. If it's not a joke, how could such a patent be issued in the first place?

Let me say (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27066815)

WTF, This suit just take time and money away from redhat thus slowing progress. Really need to stop Patent Troll before this decade is up.

Re:Let me say (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067145)

Well if they win they will surely counter sue for all the costs.

Apparently they didn't learn anything from SCO (0)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27067383)

Software Tree's partners include Microsoft

Lawsuit by proxy...again. Apparently Microsoft didn't learn anything from that little SCO fiasco.

Hopefully Software Tree has smarter management than Darl all-your-open-source-be-belonging-to-us McBride. But they're in bed with MS, that's a strike against them right off.

I think I'm with a lot of you here in suggesting you don't sell your software product in Texas. If they're going to play host to abusive patent litigation, let them write their own software.

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