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Red Hat Claims Patent On SOAP Over CGI

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the wash-your-mouth-out dept.

Patents 191

WMGarrison writes "US Patent 7453593 claims command-line processing by a web server of SOAP requests, resulting in XML responses, from and to a remote client. The HTTP Common Gateway Interface (CGI) operates precisely as described in Claim 1. If you POST a SOAP document and return an XHTML response or a SOAP document, this infringes Claim 2, since both XHTML and SOAP are XML languages. This patent thus claims to own the processing of SOAP documents by CGI programs."

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frist psot (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27268899)

...dont drop the SOAP.

Re:frist psot (3, Funny)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269993)

You know, I never understood the "don't drop the soap" joke. Surely if someone is physically able to rape you anally, then there is little to no advantage to you bending over initially.

And if you've ever got a large quantity of soap in your eyes, you'll know that having bent over to get the soap, you've got your hands on quite a good weapon.

The joke seems to imply an attitude of "Oh jeeze - well, since you've started, you might as well finish", which rather cuts against the whole homophobic thrust. I've read back over these passages a few times, but it still doesn't make sense - is it just going straight over my head?

Re:frist psot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27270763)

Your vastly over thinking it. Just read it, think "Oh those crazy homos" and chuckle uncomfortably like the rest of us.

Re:frist psot "Dont' drop the SOAP"... especially (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270161)

if there are Psycho-like shower scenes. My first thought was soaping done in CGI/animation, hehehe....

Lovely or bubbly?

Patent Troll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27268971)

We have know for a long time that Red Hat is a patent troll. They make IBM look like noobs.

Re:Patent Troll (2, Insightful)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269165)

You are aware they aren't patenting things to prevent others from using those concepts or to change a fee to use the process. Instead they are doing it as a defensive measure against the likes of SCOs, M$ and greedy lawyers. They aren't patent trolls, they are protecting themselves and the Linux.

Yes. (2, Insightful)

krog (25663) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269179)

Of course they are. Of course they are. It's not bad when "we" do it.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269359)

You're post reads as if you're being sarcastic. You are aware that if Red Hat were to prevent other people from using their patents in GPLv2 or later software then they would lose the ability to distribute GPLv2 or later software, right?

They could go after proprietary vendors I suppose but I find it far more likely that these are defensive patents.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269475)

"defensive patents" -- if this was true, then they should just have cemented the 'proof of prior art' (archive their creations in legally-certified manner). should be cheaper and quicker as well (as compared to patents). so all this 'defensive patents' is nonsense -- they just want to get some leverage to 'wrestle' others wrt other companies' patents if/when such "others" will try to go after redhat -- but that is a different story altogether (i.e. abusing current patent portfolio for no other purpose than political wrangling... all under the pretence of 'good guys')...

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269771)

That could be true except no one else is doing it. They could take the high ground and try to defend themselves with prior art, but I think that they need to be able to fight if necessary. Fight fire with fire. If they try to go after someone and do anything negative with this then I will pass judgment. Until then I will assume they are playing CYA in a pool of sharks.

Re:Yes. (2, Insightful)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269795)

so all this 'defensive patents' is nonsense -- they just want to get some leverage to 'wrestle' others wrt other companies' patents if/when such "others" will try to go after redhat

That's the whole point of a defensive patent portfolio. Some other company has patents over stuff you're selling (considering all the software in RHEL, this is certain) so you take out patents on stuff that other companies are likely to be selling.

Its the same logic as the cold war where you have nukes because everyone else has them - nobody would ever go after anyone with patents because the other guy could just counter-sue. The problem is patent trolls, they are the equivalent to terrorist groups with nuclear bombs: they have nothing to lose.

Re:Yes. (1)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270093)

NEWSFLASH! Red Hat isn't looking out for your best interest just because they create a Linux based OS. They are still a for profit company.

Re:Yes. (1)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270615)

Do you feel that any and all "for profit" companies are evil? I admit that many are. Especially the larger ones. But not each and every one. RH is probably better than most, if not exactly "lily white".

Re:Yes. (2, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269703)

Let's say some corporation applies for a patent on garbage collection or XML or image editors or something like that. Someone has to prevent them from doing it.

Who would be in a better position to present prior art? Who has obvious standing in this case at all? And which one has legal parity that would be obvious to any Windows user charged with making a judgment on this? A corporation with a similar patent, or a loosely-knit but idealistic bunch of Slashdot lawyers?

In principle it goes against everything to be relying on a single private party to shield obvious processes from frivolous patent claims on things we do every day. It places too much trust in one party. But legally and in a pragmatic sense I would be inclined to let Red Hat deal with these people. They have patent lawyers. Otherwise geeks have to keep coming out of the woodwork to make prior art claims.

Re:Patent Troll (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269301)

against the likes of SCOs, M$ and greedy lawyers.

And Canonical, the FSF, and everyone else.

Re:Patent Troll (2, Informative)

usman_ismail (1394927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269335)

You are aware they aren't patenting things to prevent others from using those concepts or to change a fee to use the process. Instead they are doing it as a defensive measure against the likes of SCOs, M$ and greedy lawyers. They aren't patent trolls, they are protecting themselves and the Linux.

You don't need a patent for that just prior art in the wild

Re:Patent Troll (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269401)

Unless you live in reality, with the rest of us.

Re:Patent Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269573)

You don't need a patent for that just prior art in the wild

amen to that -- finally someone with some brains...f!@#$ patents wrt open source -- prior art shall set you free

Re:Patent Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269813)

YANAL, right?

If you feel you have prior art you must argue for your case and have a court agree with you.

Things are a lot more cut-and-dried when you hold a patent.

Re:Patent Troll (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269979)

"You don't need a patent for that just prior art in the wild"

Except prior art does not always exist. In cases where no prior art is available, you need to have a large number of patents available for cross-licensing schemes, or in the worst case, counter-suits. A multi-billion dollar software company just cannot survive anymore without patents at the ready (or without enough money to pay for patent licensing).

Re:Patent Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269709)

By "the Linux" do you mean "the GNU?"

Re:Patent Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27270425)

You said "M$", nyuck, nyuck.

Re:Patent Troll (2, Insightful)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269723)

We have know for a long time that Red Hat is a patent troll. They make IBM look like noobs.

Ok, c'mon now... Redhat (IBM as well) is part of OIN [openinventionnetwork.com] ... Press Release [openinventionnetwork.com] here... How about we wait until they actually do something trollish before throwing around accusations like they were government bailout money...

This is a patent I can get behind (5, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27268977)

If this results in the abandonment of SOAP, I'm all for it.

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (1)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269109)

So say we all!

And after htey get rid of SOAP (1, Funny)

wiredog (43288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269407)

they will get rid of SHOWERS.

Not a big deal (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269571)

Most of IT support and administration staff weren't fond enough of SHOWERS to use it. SOAP itself wasn't necessarily a child process or deamon for SHOWERS as it also worked with BATH and HANDWASH. Neither of which are popular either. Most of them will just hope that DEODORANT will cover up the problems that SOAP, SHOWERS, or BATH would have fixed but generally everyone can tell if they start sniffing around the network.

I hear good things about the open source project PTA BATH.

Re:Not a big deal (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269905)

PTA BATH

Taking advantage of prior art like the ultrasonic shower (Asimov, robot series IIRC) or the sonovac (2001) would be a good idea. Admittedly, I since I first read about these ultrasonic devices decades ago (when there was no such thing like the 'basement geek culture' (??) I am very fond of the idea.

CC.

Re:And after htey get rid of SOAP (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269651)

Wow... clever invocation of Godwin's Law.

Re:And after htey get rid of SOAP (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270037)

No he said: "they will get rid of SHOWERS."

Doing a Godwin would be: In Nazi Germany, SHOWERS get rid of YOU!

Re:And after htey get rid of SOAP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27270463)

That is a Jewish conspiracy. It never happened despite the overwhelming physical evidence.

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269413)

If this results in the abandonment of SOAP, I'm all for it.

No complaints there, but it would be inconvenient if you're no longer allowed to return XML in response to a request. Even a large proportion of HTML documents are valid XML, so hypothetically you might have to include unclosed tags in your pages to be on the safe side.

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (1)

dkh2 (29130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269765)

No complaints there, but it would be inconvenient if you're no longer allowed to return XML in response to a request. Even a large proportion of HTML documents are valid XML, so hypothetically you might have to include unclosed tags in your pages to be on the safe side.

Actually, this would apply to CGI, on-the-fly machine generated XML. Given the close relationship between XML and HTML I can see the possibility of less informed company lawyer types having a panic attack over something like this with respect to things like form landing pages, RSS feeds, and other generated pages on their web sites that do not fall into the SOAP category.

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269775)

Sure SOAP is complex, but that complexity can be encapsulated away. Really, the alternative is what? Everyone coming up with completely incompatible data transmission formats, reinventing the wheel and making the same mistakes over and over?

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (2, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270065)

I'm not sure what SOAP solves. What does that complexity buy me? I've written to API's in XML, fixed width files, serialized objects, url encoded, cgi post, shared memory, named pipes and others.

All SOAP manages to do is make object instantiation and invocation look nothing like what is going on.

SOAP is not abstraction it is misdirection.

COBOL files were typically well defined. Writing a parser and validator for them would take less time than setting up the same for SOAP. I'm not suggesting we go back to COBOL, I'm saying that SOAP doesn't win us anything by making parsing and validating available to something made unnecessarily complex.

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (1)

pthreadunixman (1370403) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270281)

It always seemed to me that sole guiding principal behind SOAP was to evade obnoxious outbound firewall policies.

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269991)

Free Software are allowed to use any of RedHat patents, so this is not likely to result in the abandonment of SOAP. The goal of this patent is to fight against Microsoft and other companies in the case they attack some free software with patents.

Re:This is a patent I can get behind (1)

bb5ch39t (786551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270737)

Right! "He brings a knife, you bring a gun."

Fix the patent laws with anti cancer drugs (5, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27268997)

OK, to save companies time and money (except for the Trolls and parasites), just get rid of software patents already. It's not good for buyers or sellers. It's not good for employees. It only benefits lawyers and patent troll parasites. Patent reform shouldn't take years, it should take days. I don't want to see another story like this ever again.

!AHAH (1)

neo (4625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27268999)

Since returning HTML would not be covered, AHAH requests would not be covered.

You should be using AHAH anyway.

On the server side, it would be the same... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269063)

AHAH on the server is just another request...that's the whole point

What AHAH? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269511)

Since returning HTML would not be covered, AHAH requests would not be covered.

Even under a typical AJAX environment, switching the encoding from XML to JSON might work around.

You should be using AHAH anyway.

What do you mean by AHAH? Are you implying that not using query suggestions [google.com] or client-side pre-validation [sitepoint.com] creates a better user experience?

Re:!AHAH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269791)

AHAHAH, you didn't say the magic word.
-- Dennis

Patent for "Talking" (3, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269053)

Perhaps I should patent Talking. A means of transferring information between people. If you submit audible sounds to a individual and get audible sounds back, then you are infringing. :-) For a follow up I'll patent political speeches.

When will the madness end?

I should patent (2, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269167)

A circular load bearing device where a bent-wood rim is suspended around a hub with wooden segments of equal length. This is useful as a method of facilitating the motion of wagons, chariots and the like. Optionally a metal (bronze or iron) rim can be placed around the wooden rim adding greater durability at the expense of weight.

In Soviet Australia, wheel patents YOU (2, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269543)

A circular load bearing device where a bent-wood rim is suspended around a hub[...]

Except in Australia, such a patent was issued [ipmenu.com] .

Re:I should patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27270633)

No really. Imagine if patent law hadn't been around! We may have never developed something as critical to the development of the human race as the wheel!

Re:Patent for "Talking" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269577)

Political speeches transfer no information and are thus not covered under your patent.

Re:Patent for "Talking" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269627)

But you'd inadvertently patent group farting too, and so-called contagious yawning.

Umm... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269069)

Ok so who patented POSTing a JSON and returning an XML? Or GETing a key/value pair and returning JSON? Or POSTing XML and returning porn?

And why only over CGI? Why not patent the use of server text preprocessors as well?

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269269)

The patent claims any UNIX shell processing of SOAP documents inside a web server. Read the claims: #1 is for a UNIX shell, #2 is for web services that process SOAP and return *any* XML. CGI just happens to be the majority case of this.

God knows how Red Hat thought they could get away with this. It seems amazingly stupid. And greedy. And stupid.

Maybe they've been hiring Microsoft patent lawyers.

So what? (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269071)

What's the impact of this? If this is such big news, perhaps you could spell that out in the summary.

Not a problem for most Web appliactions (1)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269079)

The claim would only come into play if a CLI application was used. Use a Non-cli application and viola no infringement.

Re:Not a problem for most Web appliactions (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269807)

I don't see what a baritone violin [wikipedia.org] has to do with the infringement.

Re:Not a problem for most Web appliactions (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269825)

That's how CGI works: It launches a CLI application, passing data to it through a series of defined environment variables and STDIN (POST only).

I Thought This Would be Coming (1)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269095)

1. Red Hat are now employing too many lawyers and they need something to do.

2. Red Hat have started to become the target of a lot of patent trolls themselves and this is what the said lawyers recommend as a defense mechanism.

Thanks for the spam link (4, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269097)

All of the various "free patents" sites are pure spam. The USPTO, like many other patent offices around the world, lets you view patents online for free - including free from ads.

In this particular case, you can read the patent here [uspto.gov] , straight from the horse's mouth.

Re:Thanks for the spam link (3, Interesting)

pieterh (196118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269557)

Actually, I think you're wrong and overmoderated. I've been trying freepatentsonline.com and it is pretty neat.

Negative points: adverts, and these go away when you sign in.

Positive points: extensive search functions (e.g. search on all different fields), ability to save searches, ability to download search results as spreadsheets (not figured out how yet).

Of course you can read the patent without ads on the USPTO site. But the hard part is searching patents.

Maybe you want to actually try the site before making blanket statements about "all free patent sites being pure spam". I think Google patent search is also pretty neat, and it's free.

And the USPTO site is also free.

USPTO.gov images (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269633)

The USPTO, like many other patent offices around the world, lets you view patents online for free - including free from ads.

The various "free patents" sites provide the service of translating the images from TIFF in an obscure codec to something more popular, such as JPEG, PNG, or PDF.

Re:Thanks for the spam link (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269679)

does USPTO give you PDF download of the full document? I go to see images, and I'm told I need a TIF plugin. a quick registration at freepatentsonline, and I can download the full PDF. Google patents, I can download a registration free PDF download. Both are 'image pdf' files with non selectable text. wikipatents is interesting, but doesn't quite do it for me.

USPTO is behind the times. But that's to be expected.

A new hope (1)

Lalakis (308990) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269105)

RedHat seems to have a firm understanding of how the current patent system works. I salute them and hope in the future for them to own a lot of stupid patents like this one.

Defensive patents (5, Insightful)

Richard W.M. Jones (591125) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269113)

These are defensive patents. You have to file them if you're in the US software business, or else risk getting sued for $billions. Read how Red Hat licenses their patent portfolio to all open source projects [redhat.com] .

Re:Defensive patents (2, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269489)

If software patents are bad, then they are bad. You can't claim you are doing a Good Thing by patenting something simple and obvious and then prohibiting some people from using it.

That's what they are doing by promising not to sue Open Source projects for using THEIR patented intellectual property. It's still THEIR patented intellectual property, and they'll sue closed source projects for using it.

What's even worse is they renig on their promise if an Open Source project tries to challenge Red Hat's claim to the IP. "Our Promise does not extend to any party who institutes patent litigation against Red Hat with respect to a patent applicable to software (including a cross-claim or counterclaim to a lawsuit)."

That means that any project that wants to use any of Red Hat's licensed IP can't challenge ANY of Red Hat's patents for any reason, even patents that they shouldn't have because that open source project has provable, existing prior art in the area.

Red Hat isn't defending anyone but themselves.

Re:Defensive patents (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27270039)

Oh how adorable!

Is your mommie a lawyer? You should ask her to read their patent promise to you one night before bed.

In particular, she could explain to you the difference between "patent litigation" and a patent re-examination. They are not the same thing (yes, I'm ignoring ex parte vs. inter partes).

The phrase you refer to means that the license for a third party to use the patents is terminated if that third party attempts to sue the holder over any other software patent.

Ps. it's "renege".

Re:Defensive patents (2, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269529)

Oh...so like a litigious Boondock Saints?

Re:Defensive patents (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269641)

If they were serious, they would be spending money on lobbyists to make it so software isn't patentable.

Re:Defensive patents (2, Insightful)

ryran (942995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269653)

Thanks for posting the link! It should've been posted along with the article. .... Although I had never read it before, I already knew what it [much more explicitly] states: Red Hat cares about the community -- they owe everything to the community; they're not trying to extort the community. Having a firm grasp on the history of things, and having worked with Red Hat employees a lot, it's hard for me to understand how people can't see that.

Re:Defensive patents (1)

pieterh (196118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269733)

Red Hat is not one thing. It is:

- a community of engineers
- a bunch of lawyers and accounts
- a group of shareholders

and more. I think the value of this story is not to show that the engineers are bad people. It's to show that the lawyers and accountants have a lot of power and could abuse that.

It probably goes without saying that Red Hat engineers are generally really smart and ethical people - you don't work for an open source company otherwise.

A lot of technology firms have tensions between the patent lawyers and engineers. IBM, Nokia, Sony, Microsoft, Red Hat, Sun, SAP... the only firms that don't have this tension are firms that do not file software patents at all.

Re:Defensive patents (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269941)

It probably goes without saying that Red Hat engineers are generally really smart and ethical people - you don't work for an open source company otherwise.

Then it is the Red Hat lawyers prodded by the shareholders who file for patents on software, which the engineers think are bad, and expect closed-source software companies to license the IP.

If Red Hat objected to software patents in general, they'd file for the patent and then let ANYONE use it. That's what would happen if there were no software patents -- everyone can use the ideas. By limiting the users of Red Hat's IP they are making the clear statement that software patents DO have a purpose and are valuable enough to spend money getting and defending.

Re:Defensive patents (1)

dirvine (1008915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269929)

I think what people are missing here is the smaller developers, perhaps not using GPL or OSS license X but instead looking to produce (or in fact just idea) some good product and sell it.

I often feel pure open source (whatever that is - here comes the bsd vs gpl thing again) and proprietary 800 lbs gorrila companies are at opposite ends of a spectrum. The wee guy always seems to loose.

Fair enough everybody patent everything - proprietary or the 'use for open source' people then game over the guys in the middle small companies and lone developers trying to get a buck from a great idea loose.

I 100% agree making money continually from a bit of software is screwed unless your always adding real functionality and innovation (and thats another debate). I also agree there should be limits of some description (I mean after you have a couple of million - how much more do you really need, personally). The main point is always missed, 100% open source is not the answer and 100% proprietary is definitely not. Good developers should get paid for developing not supporting so there must be an answer somewhere in between these two wildly opposing points.

Re:Defensive patents (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270165)

I 100% agree making money continually from a bit of software is screwed unless your always adding real functionality and innovation (and thats another debate).

Why shouldn't someone who buys my software in 2009 pay the same amount as someone who bought it in 2007? It does the same job, and it probably runs on less expensive hardware since it hasn't bloated beyond all reasonable size. A piece of software that does one thing and does it well doesn't need constant additions of "real functionality and innovation". That's the Microsoft "always upgrade" mindset.

I also agree there should be limits of some description (I mean after you have a couple of million - how much more do you really need, personally).

I employ ten people. I pay them well. They don't stop needing money to buy food after a year, or after the first two million in sales. Just who gives you the right to decide how much money is enough for someone else?

Good developers should get paid for developing not supporting ...

So I should just sell my program and never answer the phone or emails about how to use it or whatever bugs people find? Yes, I guess so, since "a couple of million" is enough money for me, I can't afford to spend it on phone lines or network connections to provide easy access for users to ask questions.

Re:Defensive patents (1)

dirvine (1008915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270545)

I think you miss the point here, good developers who produce good products are not necessarily good support personnel, in many cases the opposite (as with scientists and breakthrough drugs etc.). This is my issue with a lot of Open Source models

On the other hand anti competitive behavior in any area of business (software, biotechnology, healthcare etc.) is plain wrong. There has to be a way to get rewarded, sure I agree and some more than others, but anti competitive behavior through ill thought out legal protectionism of this is daft.

Also I have no rights (and would want none) to decide on whats enough money for you or anyone but it is a principle I think we have wrong, money is a barter commodity (could be seashells) and if something or somebody soaks up too much there less to go around an pay the next innovator. Thats the last point there has to be a better way. Mankind depends on innovation and anything that stops this is wrong in my opinion, but the converse is true innovators must get a chance to capitalise (and hopefully innovate more).

Congratulations on employing 10 well paid staff this is a good thing and always should be, I would just ask you read everything in context.

In Re Bilski (1)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269131)

The In Re Bilski case invalidates this patent, as it is not tied to a particular machine.

DISCLAIMER: Not only am I not a lawyer, my sole basis for my statement is knowledge gained from my somewhat-attentive reading of previous /. comments (not articles) regarding the "In Re Bilski" case. I'm not sure if the word "case" applies to In Re Bilski. I'm not sure if "In Re Bilski" should be written with initial caps, as opposed to "in re Bilski", for instance.

Re:In Re Bilski (2, Informative)

jerrund (464194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269231)

Bilski doesn't apply here, as the In Re Bilski ruling only applies to Process claims. The claims in question are directed to a system.

Distinction without a difference? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269731)

the In Re Bilski ruling only applies to Process claims. The claims in question are directed to a system.

If a system's only novel aspect is a process that happens in the system, in this case XML encoding and decoding at each side of the connection, then what's the difference [wikipedia.org] between a system claim and a process claim?

Re:In Re Bilski (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269769)

Well, that's debatable. No courts have ruled on whether bilski applies to non-process claims. The Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) has used bilski to invalidate software claims that weren't process claims: http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2009/01/ex-parte-marius.html

In other news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269147)

Proctor & Gamble claims prior art on SOAP.

Acronyms (2, Funny)

necro81 (917438) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269189)

I haven't had to wade through that many acronyms since "Good Morning Vietnam [youtube.com] "

prior art (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269221)

Scanning the patent briefly I saw the earliest date was 2005.

In 2003/2004 I wrote a CGI script that greps a csv file pipes it to sed to generate xml and returns that xml to the client.
Does this count as prior art?

Actually I am writing a (client side focused) Ajax course now and intend to use a toy cgi service that greps a csv file and returns the data in not XML but JSON. That is not XML pfew I do not infring the patent.

 

Re:prior art (1)

dirvine (1008915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269963)

Only if you published somewhere good enough to be witnessed and picked up by a reasonable search.

More prior art (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270533)

In 2004 my capstone project was a TV/DVR remote control software package that ran on a wireless PDA. It worked by sending SOAP requests to a web server that would execute command line instructions on a media service and return XML data based on the result and state of the device.

Their patent sounds like it is almost an exact duplication of my capstone.

I'm sure I have the source floating around somewhere, but I still have images from the app up on the web:

http://ringdev.com/images/BlueSkinListing.bmp [ringdev.com]
http://ringdev.com/images/RedLineSkinListing.bmp [ringdev.com]
http://ringdev.com/images/RedLineSkinDetail.bmp [ringdev.com]

-Rick

Are you Kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269271)

this is ridiculous!

Haha Microsoft (2, Funny)

Rogu3 (1504073) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269299)

MS Robotics Studio uses Soap to XML. Haha, how like life now.

How is that not 'blatantly obvious'? (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269315)

I mean, SOAP's entire purpose is to be a messaging mechanism over different mediums, protocols, architectures, and implementations; ergo, if I implement "Handling SOAP over " how on earth could that be patentable? Maybe they're referring to actual soap (like Lava, or Lever 2000, summat...)

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269373)

Just because there is a patent does not mean RedHat has a practical defensible claim on something. Slashdotters seem to think the Patent system is some kind booby-trapped chess game. Yes, some companies are misguided and sue. But we don't know the real reasons WHY they sue. In some countries there is not even a Patent vetting process - you can register a patent for anything you like and for a fee it gets filed. RedHat has to make a business decision about if there is financial benefit to protect their claim, against whether the Court will think the claim is bogus. If you can see the claim is bogus, why do you think a court will not have the common sense to come to the same conclusion. Judges aren't stupid.

That fact that a patent is on file does not take precedence over, nor does it bias, the legal process.

Re:So what? (4, Insightful)

zarthrag (650912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269471)

Therein lies the problem. I'm a one-developer shop. Even if a claim is 100% bunk, I can't afford to defend myself from a legion of lawyers who would simply drag out a court case forever - SCO style. Since I'd like to actually work instead of spend my life in court, I'd be forced to settle - giving said patent a bit of legitimacy. It's not a protection now, it's a business model equivalent to a protection racket.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269637)

If you are a one-developer shop, what's to be gained by suing you? WHERE are these many-many small shops that are being bullied?

Secondly if you HAD to defend yourself in court and you are a one-developer shop you would defend it yourself. You could just get a para-legal at a small price or get legal-aid for free. I've been legally bullied before (not patent related) and I stood up myself in front of the Judge and he threw the case out with my spending a cent.

This whole "Slashdotified/Stallmanified" patent paranoia is all a straw man.

I can totally see through the psychology of these arguments. It began with disenfranchise teenagers who did not like the fact they had to pay for their favorite game or DVD and developed into a hatred for those that protect any kind of IP.

Re:So what? (1)

pieterh (196118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269783)

Uhm, so anyone who is against software patents is by definition a copyright-infringing teenager?

Re:So what? (2, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270055)

You hit a small shop first to gain that legitmacy. The next place you sue(slightly larger), you show that you've succeeded in court before, and that either gets them to settle or influences the judge in deciding for you. You continue up the chain until you get smacked or start making serious money. If you get any resistance, you drop it as soon as possible and go on the next company. While you may have had success as an individual, most of these cases would either avoid you initially after you pushed back or smack you into the ground later through accumulated successes.

As for you reducing this discussion to teenagers stealing games, that is quite bizarre. Many of us are reliant on IP laws, whether to using hacks to get around the limitations(GPL, BSD, Creative Commons) or working in the system(standard copyright, extra rights/limits through contracts, etc).

I don't hate IP wholesale, I need it as a backdrop to the extra rights I grant those who use my software. Otherwise everything uses the WTFPL without the name change requirement. What I hate are those who take advantage of a system that is sorely out-of-date for purposes that contradict what the system was supposed to do.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269523)

Slashdotters seem to think the Patent system is some kind booby-trapped chess game.

Coincidentally we think the same thing about talking to girls.

Pro se? Ha! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269781)

If you can see the claim is bogus, why do you think a court will not have the common sense to come to the same conclusion.

Because the patent holder may have already won by default. If you were sued, would you have the money to defend yourself in court?

The Patent system is SO broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269417)

That I have no choice but to ignore it completely. It has brought itself into disrepute, as the legal lingo would put it.

Probably not so broad as to encompass CGI (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269425)

The claims of a patent aren't completely isolated from the specification of a patent. While multiple cases warn against reading limitations from the specification into the claims, the terms in the claims often only take on meaning in light of what the specification teaches.

Take a look at figure 1 to get a sense of what Red Hat's inventor claims to have created: a command-line interpreter that can take something like "cat members | http://ws.example.com/ldap-lookup [example.com] -name | xml://phone > member-phones" and produce meaningful results. That is, making the Unix command line a tool that seamlessly integrates services that are available remotely.

Does this help in interpreting the terms in the claim: "A system comprising: a command-line interpreter ("CLI") to obtain a text string describing a data processing pipeline ... process-launching logic to launch a plurality of child processes ... and remote service interaction logic to accept delimited data strings from a first of the plurality of child processes on a standard input" (simplified).

Well...CGI does not really have a command-line interpreter. You can run a CGI script from the command line, but Apache doesn't need to go through sh when it communicates with a CGI script. If you are running a CGI script from the command line, you're running it locally (even if you have remotely logged into another machine, you are still running it locally on that other machine). Thus, running the CGI script from the command line does not involve remote service interaction logic.

CGI is a poor example to use of something that might anticipate this patent. Perhaps a stronger argument could be made that the claimed invention was obvious in light of combining a command-line interpreter with wget or rsh, but given how long command-line interpreters have required additional programs to access remote services, an argument could be made that integrating the functionality directly into the command-line interpreters is, in fact, non-obvious.

Someone had to... (3, Insightful)

neowolf (173735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269479)

Face it- if Red Hat hadn't done it, M$ probably would have. It's likely a "defensive" patent they are unlikely to use unless provoked. It's all just a game. A big, high-stakes, unfortunate game.

Bullshit! (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#27269551)

SixApart should lay down the law [soaplite.com] .

i just patented the word 'bailout' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27269879)

I just patented the word 'bailout' i'll be rich overnight.... If that doesn't fly, maybe then i'll use my time machine and go back 2 years and patent the term 'Joe the plumber' oh yea, and i also own a patent for any document containing the letter 'e', so you all owe me eleventy billion dollars!!!

Old news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27270265)

Come on Slashdot... This is very old and stale news...Can't you find anything new and interesting to post?

bric_soap (2, Informative)

kwoff (516741) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270527)

I've been using such a command called bric_soap in Bricolage [bricolage.cc] (Perl-based CMS) for the last six years at least.

Introduced in 2002: ViewVC [bricolage.cc]

An example (see the API docs [bricolage.cc] , navigate to bin -> bric_soap ...): "Republish all published stories. This is useful when a template change needs to be reflected across a site. The sort -k2 -t_ -n is a crude way to make sure that newer stories overwrite older ones."

bric_soap story list_ids --search publish_status=1 | sort -k2 -t_ -n | bric_soap workflow publish -

RIP (5, Funny)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27270671)

With any luck, this will finally put SOAP to REST.

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