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Red Hat Sued Over Hibernate ORM Patent Claim

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the done-it-first dept.

170

fmarines writes "Firestar Software has filed a patent claim against Red Hat for infringing on a patent Firestar filed in 2000 covering O/R mapping. The amount of the lawsuit was not disclosed. The complaint centers around JBoss 3, and the patent claims that JBoss was given prior notice that marketing, distribution, and support services violates Firestar's patent, and that Firestar 'has suffered and will continue to suffer substantial damages.' Firestar produces the ObjectSpark, an transactional object mapping engine which appears to not have had a new release since May 2003, according to the Firestar press release page."

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before it gets slashdotted... (4, Informative)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635212)

Red Hat Sued Over Hibernate 3 ORM Patent Infringement Claim
Posted by Floyd Marinescu on jun 29, 2006 09:40 PM

Community Java Topics Legal Matters, Data Access, Business
Firestar Software has filed a patent claim against Red Hat for infringing on a patent Firestar filed in 2000 covering O/R mapping. The amount of the lawsuit was not disclosed. The complaint centers around JBoss 3, and the patent claims that JBoss was given prior notice that marketing, distribution, and support services violates Firestars patent, and that Firestar "has suffered and will continue to suffer substantial damages." Firestar produces the ObjectSpark, an transactional object mapping engine which appears to not have had a new release since May 2003, according to the Firestars press release page.

The patent covers (from US Patent office patent # 6,101,502):
A method for interfacing an object oriented software application with a relational database, comprising the steps of:

selecting an object model;
generating a map of at least some relationships between schema in the database and the selected object model;
employing the map to create at least one interface object associated with an object corresponding to a class associated with the object oriented software application; and
utilizing a runtime engine which invokes said at least one interface object with the object oriented application to access data from the relational database. ide interface objects that are utilized by an object oriented software application to access the relational database.
Interestingly, the same patent (follow link for full PDFs) was filed under a different company name to the European patent office back in 1998, but was withdrawn. The patent is not related to yet another patent Mapping architecture for arbitrary data models filed in 2005.

Patent experts told InfoQ that the lawsuit appears to be skillful manoeuvring on Firestar's part; they waited until after the JBoss Red Hat acquisition intentions were announced and notified JBoss about the potential infringement on May 26th, which was within the JBoss Red Hat due dilligence period. This would have required JBoss to either instantly settle with Firestar or be forced to notify Red Hat which could have cancelled the acquisition deal, which was announced as finalized on June 5th (with Red Hat aware of the risks). Firestar then notified Red Hat on June 7th that they were in violation of Firestar's patent. As a further example of manoeuvring, the word among patent experts is that the specific district Firestar selected to perform the lawsuit in (eastern district of Texas) is famous among patent circles because a patent claimant has never lost a lawsuit there.

It seems clear that the timing of the lawsuit was designed to take advantage of the Red Hat acquisition. Firestar certainly had other potential targets, including Oracle (TopLink), BEA (Kodo), and even the JCP (EJB JPA).

Note: updated June 29th, 10:40pm

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (2, Interesting)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635259)

Im not familiar with what techniques the new EJB is using or KODO. However, I thought the new EJB was going towards JDO technique. The patent seems odd in that it is patenting a technique which would be best called a combination of Hibernate and JDO techniques. AFAIK Hibernate performs its mapping at runtime based on the schema you create. I assume Hibernate uses mediator objects of some sort? JDO modifies its objects at compile time and does not do any runtime modification. This system has a schema, creates an interface object at compile time, and them uses a runtime engine to do somethign else. Overkill.

Maybe thats why nobody uese it?

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (2, Informative)

mikeburke (683778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635300)

The new EJB model is strongly influenced by Hibernate. Gavin King (founder of Hibernate) was on the expert group.

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635521)

Gavin King (founder of Hibernate) was on the expert group.

We laughed about this clueless moron behind his back, as we always do when some high-profile FOSS-smartasses send along their most capable man to "assist" us. Men, what a fucking pants-wettera

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (1)

Decaff (42676) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635634)

The new EJB model is also strongly influenced by TopLink and JDO - they had representatives on the expert group. The disappointing thing is that the new EJB model is a poor subset of features of Hibernate, JDO and TopLink.

This is the definition of an obvious patent (4, Interesting)

chriseyre2000 (603088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635262)

How can you implement an Object Realstional Mapper and not violate this patent?

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (4, Informative)

mikeburke (683778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635307)

Exactly. They'll have to go after TopLink as well, which certainly predates 2000. Hell, I was working with a commercial framework called 'Persistence' in 1997 that used a similar approach (albeit in C++).

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (3, Interesting)

dsurber (53971) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635601)

TopLink existed as a Smalltalk product in the early 90's, '93 or '94. I know because my company developed a Smalltalk OR mapping product that competed with TopLink.

It takes more discipline than I have to try to understand a patent, but I'd be astonished if the there isn't a ton of prior art, starting with TopLink.

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (1)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635346)

I was curious about this as well. Can someone explain to me how this even got accepted as a patent? How is this really something that they can claim a patent on?
I would really like to know, since this is not really one of my strong areas of knowledge.

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (0)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635717)

I was curious about this as well. Can someone explain to me how this even got accepted as a patent? How is this really something that they can claim a patent on?

Well, the patent office is funded by the sale of monopolies. A person files an application that says, "I want a patent office on idea A". Now, the patent office can either pay someone to determine if the patent is valid, or they can not pay someone to investigate the patent and grant the patent in exchange for lots of money. As you can see, it's in the patent office's best interest to do their jobs as poorly as possible, and the people paying them certainly aren't going to fire them for it.

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (0, Offtopic)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635980)

This is offtopic, but what's with modding posts "overrated" when they have no other moderations?

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635608)

How can you implement an Object Realstional Mapper and not violate this patent?
The obvious answer - do it outside of the USA and avoid all of this sillyness. You really can tell it is an IP system designed to protect Micky Mouse for eternity - but the jokes including software and business method patents are just not funny and are used by the cruel to torment the poor clowns at the recieving end.

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635843)

The obvious answer - do it outside of the USA and avoid all of this sillyness.

Tell that to RIM..

Re:This is the definition of an obvious patent (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635624)

NeXT had an OR mapper in WebObjects over a decade ago, so either you can implement an OR mapper without violating this patent or there is prior art (since the patent was only filed in 2000, 4 years after NeXT had a shipping product).

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635351)

Obvious patent, next up the screwdriver....i.e.
Patent (from US Patent office patent # 6,666,666):
A method for cojoining two surfaces together:

A metal tool which can interface with one or more threaded objects with the purpose of attaching two surfaces together.
The metal tool is inserted into the head of the threaded object and is turned to insert or retrieve the threaded object from the upper surface to be joined.
As a result of this turning mechanism, when fully inserted, the threaded object has connected the two surfaces and they are joined.
Interface mechanisms beteween the metal tool and threaded objects must include, but is not restricted to, a flat groove or a cross groove.
The threaded object may be (but is not restricted to) self tapping, non self tapping, countersunk.

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (1)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635727)

hahaha....your pretty good with the patent lingo, maybe you should submit that one...

While your at it can you please write one for me that covers the light bulb?

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635448)

comprising the steps of:

selecting an object model;
generating a map of at least some relationships between schema in the database and the selected object model;
employing the map to create at least one interface object associated with an object corresponding to a class associated with the object oriented software application; and
utilizing a runtime engine which invokes said at least one interface object with the object oriented application to access data from the relational database. ide interface objects that are utilized by an object oriented software application to access the relational database.

They patented the online relational database? This is pretty much how you tie an Access database backend to a web frontend.

Why didn't they sue Microsoft? Because they know their suit has no merit and Microsoft would crush them like a bug, where <sarcasm>a little Linux company </sarcasm> is seen as easy pickings?

Or did Mictosoft itself finance this, just like SCO?

-mcgrew
("Siphon"? What kind of MRC is that?)

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (1)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635744)

I agree, but that probably because i'm ignorant to exactly what a OR Mapping is. Based on the language in the patent it sounds like Microsofts ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) might be an infringer also. If it is then it is certainly the largest.

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (1)

fmarines (983051) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635701)

You guys can't just copy the full text of the site linked in the message above, that's a copyright violation. The site deserves the traffic due from this post. We had the most detailed coverage of this event.

Re:before it gets slashdotted... (2, Informative)

mrops (927562) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635768)

Yet another reason why I am absolutely against software patents.

Firestar never gave us anything, another useless company with 3 customers (http://www.firestarsoftware.com/customers.html) looking for a way to make money.

In recent times, no other library besides Hibernate and Spring have influenced the Java community so much, these two methodologies have changed the way architects and developers make enterprize software. Infact large parts of EJB 3.0 specs are inflenced by Hibernate.

Now here comes a useless company and sues Redhat.

IMHO, if I see a company that has a legit product being harmed by real patent infringement, it does make sense for them to sue the offender. However in this case, there is no product to talk off, nor does it seem like there is going to be a competing product from them.

Time to implement public caning (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635216)

Continue allowing these suits to be brought before the court. However, if the plaintiff loses on the basis of an invalid patent, he/she will receive 100 lashes with wet bamboo strips -- the plaintiff's attorneys as well.

Don't forget... (1)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635586)

Don't forget the defense lawyer. He deserves it for just being there.

Re:Don't forget... (1)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635772)

How about we just lash each and every lawyer in the US each time a frivilous and meritless law suit is thrown out of court. Never mind...scratch that idea, I don't think the collective energy of the remaining population is sufficient to sustain caning on such a grand scale.

Re:Time to implement public caning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635746)

I don't think you realize that canings result in death. The amount of blood loss is severe and even survivors experiense lasting trauma.

Blah (4, Insightful)

ms1234 (211056) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635246)

So they're not doing that well and need cash?

Re:Blah (3, Insightful)

DRM_is_Stupid (954094) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635306)

I know it's technically correct according to business jargon, but they say they're "suffering losses" - as if it's their God given right to have an artificial monopoly.

Re:Blah (4, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635425)

What's really interesting is that if I open a restaraunt, and a guy next door opens a restaraunt, and people like the food and/or service of the guy next door better, my restaraunt will "suffer losses."

I do not think that "suffering losses" means what people think it means...

Legal System Upgrade (4, Insightful)

freemywrld (821105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635248)

What we really need here is a proverbial SPAM filter on lawsuits for things like this. It is no wonder that people and/or companies with valid claims tend to hesitate to take their claims to court, knowing that this kind of hogwash is bogging down the system.
Seems like Firestar's time could be better spent actually developing something new, instead of sitting around waiting for an excuse to sue in order to generate some cashflow.

TFA seems confused (4, Interesting)

Brian Blessed (258910) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635251)

It says:
The complaint centers around JBoss 3

JBoss 3 was released in May 2002.
However, Hibernate wasn't a JBoss project until September 2003.

I'd guess that the claim relates to Hibernate 3, but they are desperate to mention JBoss as much as possible for the FUD value.

Re:TFA seems confused (1)

acroyear (5882) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635809)

Hibernate doesn't have a cash-heavy owner the way JBoss (now) does. Its one of the curses of selling an OpenSource product to a commercial enterpris: instead of a random batch of flat-broke hackers and hobbiests not worth a dime, you can sue a big company for a permanent take of their revenue. If you win, your stock-holders will love you forever.

Of course, the history and obviousness of ORM is so out there (every C++ magazine in the 90s talked about the concept) that this patent should never have been granted in the first place.

Buy a company - get sued! (5, Interesting)

Corrado (64013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635252)

This is really low - wait until your software gets in heavy rotation and then go after people using it. My question is why did they go after RedHat/JBoss? Why not go after the big dogs; Oracle (TopLink), BEA (Kodo), and even the JCP (EJB JPA)?

Again, software patents are a bad idea.

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (1)

gabrieltss (64078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635290)

Not only those companies you mentioned but look at ATG. They have the Repositories which is the same concept as Hibernate. And I think ATG had Repositores LONG before 2000....

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635337)

There should definitely be a clause that in order to retain your patent you have to challenge any infringements as soon as you are aware of them, not just wait until the infringement has gone on long enough to really cash in.

I believe that this sort of thing is written into law in various places, especially civil law (eg adverse possession).

The only problem would be the 'as soon as you are aware of them' bit...

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635603)

The only problem would be the 'as soon as you are aware of them' bit...

There are many companies (and legal firms) that aggressively do not know things for a variety of reasons. One of my former companies was forcibly removed from a meeting when they brought evidence of trademark infringement in as part of trademark infringement solution demonstration; if the company "knows" it exists and does nothing, they can lose their rights to enforce the trademarks, so they are free to discuss infringement in the abstract, something that is rumored to be going on, but bring in proof and they then "know" it is going on.

That's the fun sort of crazyness you get when you start establishing "rules" that can be applied in a consistent & fair manner, as opposed to Slashdot's popularity contest decision methods

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635656)

I believe there is a similar provision in US law these days. While you do not lose the patent, you can no longer claim damages that occurred between discovering the infringement and starting legal action.

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (1)

mikeburke (683778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635344)

Interesting question. My guess is they view Redhat as the softest target from all the candidate targets that actually have cash.

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635594)

redhat is perceived as having cash and would suffer most from FUD
Oracle would just kick their ass.

Howver as it is everyone's interest to win this a coallition of the above companies to fight this would be ideal.

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (1)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635806)

Yup, it's because Redhat is the softest target. You start with the easy one. If you win, then the larger ones won't fight it, they will just settle out of court to keep from losing their asses.

Re:Buy a company - get sued! (2, Insightful)

macdaddy (38372) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635757)

To set the groundwork for a lawsuit against a larger company. If they sue a smaller company that is less able to defend itself then they've created a great foothold to move forward with a suit against the big boys.

Conspiracy theory... (3, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635261)

1. JBoss gains widespread acceptance, and threatens Sun's Java model, dominance.
2. Despite Sun introducing new enhancements, developers are switching to the JBoss architecture and portal in droves.
3. RedHat acquires JBoss, gets sued, and loses - 'tainting' JBoss in the process.
4. Sun wins - one big competitor tainted and gone.... MS wins - open source apps around JBoss fall away.
Sound plausible?

Re:Conspiracy theory... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635286)

Of course! That's it! Except you left out the bit about the black helic... gotta go, I can hear them coming for me..

Re:Conspiracy theory... (5, Insightful)

powerpointmonkey (840630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635317)

Last time I looked at Jboss, it was written in Java, and as such is helping to Spread Sun's dominance.

Unles of course you meant to say Sun's application server / portal server dominance, in which case, please excuse me while I fall of my chair laughing. - Neither products are going anywhere.

Jboss is not a competitor to Sun. IBM and BEA maybe, but not Sun.

Re:Conspiracy theory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635910)

Sun has an application server? Right. I've done a lot of enterprise J2EE development and this is the first time I've actually looked up the product (I may have heard it mentioned before, but I've definitely ignored it).

The only serious application servers for J2EE are by Oracle, IBM, and BEA (I guess JBoss may be somewhere in there, but I'm not sure as to how widely used it is in enterprise apps). Tomcat is even more popular than Sun's application server from what I can tell.

Re:Conspiracy theory... (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635929)

How on earth is JBoss a competitor of Sun?? JBoss is a flagship of the Java community and has certainly helped cement Java's position as an enterprise platform.

A shot across the bow (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635275)

Patents allow wealthy companies the opportunity to appropriate the profits from the work of others for themselves. I don't trust JBoss and while I don't see conspiracies around every corner, I lack the niavety to believe that such strategies aren't being actioned at arms length by certain tech companies.

I expect this to be the first of many claims :-(

Is Ruby on Rails Affected? (4, Interesting)

Corrado (64013) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635278)

Just took a quick read of the patent and it looks like this is a pretty wide reaching patent. Anything that maps a database to an object is covered by this one. Does this mean Ruby on Rails is under the gun? Of course, they have no money (I guess) so they wouldn't be a target. But they would still be violating a patent and that could limit their future growth potential.

Re:Is Ruby on Rails Affected? (1)

zootm (850416) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635311)

Anything that maps a database to an object is covered by this one.

It's a specific method, but it's a pretty widely-used one nowadays, yes.

Does this mean Ruby on Rails is under the gun?

I would assume so. I think SQLObject for Python would be a possible target too.

Important to note (as you do) that Hibernate et al are far more profitable targets here though.

Is Ruby on Rails Affected?-Speed read. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635426)

"Just took a quick read of the patent and it looks like this is a pretty wide reaching patent."

The very best way to read a legal document. Gets rid of the pain quickly.

Now are there any lawyers here who would like to comment? Maybe say a few words to the effect "we're right, Firestar is wrong", dance around the coffee table time.*

*Maybe get a bumper sticker for our bikes that says "ring bell if you hate patents". Something more original than this patent.

Re:Is Ruby on Rails Affected? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635469)

Answer: who, besides students and bored contractors trying to justify their rates, gives a high-flying astro-fuck?

This kind of "lawsuit inc." business needs to stop (4, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635283)

We need reforms which basically state that if you choose to enforce your patents selectively then you should lose them.

You either license to everyone you intend to allow use of your patent or you lose it.. you should not be allowed to hide in wait and opportunistically/arbitrarily ambush companies and developers.

This should especially apply to companies who apply for patents, then sit on them while other companies do the work, only to sue them and take all their credit and revenue.

That's not capitalist.. it's parasitic.

Re:This kind of "lawsuit inc." business needs to s (2, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635559)

You either license to everyone you intend to allow use of your patent or you lose it.. you should not be allowed to hide in wait and opportunistically/arbitrarily ambush companies and developers.

That would be disasterous. You forget to account for the number of companies who do real work and hold patents for MAD purposes. Give those companies lawyer's a choice between "enforcement" and "losing the patent", and a significant proportion of them will choose "enforcement".

Sue them back into oblivion. (3, Interesting)

lowieken (522530) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635301)

Firestarter Software is probably not doing very well. Why else would they launch a software patent lawsuit? On top of that, they have actual products in the market. Seems to me that this makes them very vulnerable to countersuits.

Am I right thinking it shouldn't be too difficult to sue Firestarter Software into oblivion?

Re:Sue them back into oblivion. (2, Funny)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635833)

Am I right thinking it shouldn't be too difficult to sue Firestarter Software into oblivion?

I counter your "mapping an object model to a relational database" patent with my "mapping a relational database to a magnetic disk" patent of +3 vorpal.

Prior Art? (4, Interesting)

Phil John (576633) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635302)

Surely there's a wealth or prior art for this kind of thing, ORM was popular before 2000. What about Next Computer's Enterprise Objects Framework [wikipedia.org]? That's been around since at least 1994 according to WikiPedia - it still lives on as part of Apple's WebObjects system.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635348)

There were a lot of them.

Its a shame its going to cost RedHat a pile of money to prove it, though.

Re:Prior Art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635516)

How can it possibly cost them? Lawyers can't charge a penny until a verdict has been delivered; and since Red Hat are going to be winning, it'll be Firestar who have to pay both sides' costs.

If you allowed lawyers to get paid before the verdict, you would end up with a very corrupt legal system. Someone with enough money could draw a case out indefinitely, eventually leaving the other party unable to afford to continue to fight. And, of course, bent lawyers could just work as slowly as possible to maximise their fees.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635593)

See SCO vs IBM.

SCO had to come to an agreement with their lawyers because they were going to go broke before a settlement occurred. (31 million dollars and something precent of whatever the outcome was.)

Re:Prior Art? (3, Informative)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635416)

Toplink also has been there fore ages (92 or 93), the patent is not worth the toilet paper it was written on, and as usual the USPTO has proven not to have any knowledge of the fields it grants patents on.

Re:Prior Art? (1)

drjones78 (961270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635643)

Perl's DBIx::Class comes to mind.. im pretty sure its been around since before 2000, though Id have to verify that.. and I'm pretty sure ORM wasnt the authors of this module's idea.. IANAL but this seems like it would be an easy case for Red Hat to win, on the surface.

http://search.cpan.org/~jrobinson/DBIx-Class-0.060 03/lib/DBIx/Class.pm [cpan.org]

Re:Prior Art? (1)

drjones78 (961270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635688)

Nevermind, I was wrong, it was actually released much later, so it could be another project potentialy affected by this mess. I could have sworn perl has had some ORM modules out for a lot longer than this one, though I cant quite remember, havnt touched perl in a while.

Enterprise Objects (WebObjects) (4, Interesting)

Jimithing DMB (29796) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635766)

Enterprise Objects certainly implements everything described by that patent and a bit more because it provides a data access controller layer (not just a data model layer). Not to mention I've had some limited experience viewing someone else's hibernate-based code. EO/WO is so much better than Hibernate can ever hope to be.

Their CTO and VP Engineering have degrees in.. (5, Funny)

mikeburke (683778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635319)

...Economics.

Re:Their CTO and VP Engineering have degrees in.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635548)

My former boss (CTO) at one of the largest catalog companies in the US has a degree in cartography. My current boss (CTO/COO) has a (master's) degree in English.

Re:Their CTO and VP Engineering have degrees in.. (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635963)

On the other hand, my brother who wrote firmware for Cisco and Redback had a Econ degree (from Stanford) because when he started they didn't offer a CS degree.

Ohm, Prior art? (4, Informative)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635356)

All these projects have been registered before or in 2000 (when the patent has been filed according to TFA):
http://sourceforge.net/projects/jgrinder [sourceforge.net]
http://sourceforge.net/projects/leap [sourceforge.net]
http://sourceforge.net/projects/neo [sourceforge.net]
http://sourceforge.net/projects/nexusproject [sourceforge.net]

As this is a patent it shouldnt matter too much, if they actually had a working implementation at that time. (IANAL and all that jazz).

Article is wrong (1)

Reemi (142518) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635543)


The patent was filed on September 25, 1998. It was granted August 8, 2000.

Reemi.

Time for Red Hat to leave the USA (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635373)

Relocate to Europe where we don't have this patent lunacy[**]. These patent trolls would then be limited to trying to steal the USA turnover of Red Hat; Red Hat could perhaps take the option of abandoning the USA market. If Red Hat were to leave the USA it would send a strong message to congress how patents damage the USA economy ... they might even decide that doing right by their country is preferable to accepting the slush funds from the patent lobbyists.

They have some nice offices here, no language problems for existing staff if they move to Guildford (UK).

[**] - OK -- I know that some are trying to introduce it, but the EU seems to not be that stupid (fingers crossed)

Re:Time for Red Hat to leave the USA (4, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635410)

Be real. Do you really think Red Hat is going to up and leave the country because of a single software patent suit? This is the same Red Hat that established a legal defense fund for just this sort of thing - if anything, I would think they're going to enjoy the opportunity to crush these guys like a bug.

As for the "EU not being that stupid", good luck with that - they've proven time and time again that the US has no monopoly on idiocy.

-Erwos

Re:Time for Red Hat to leave the USA (1)

Blob Pet (86206) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635542)

They'd have to completely stop doing in business with US firms to avoid a lawsuit like this. I don't see that happening.

Re:Time for Red Hat to leave the USA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635607)

they've already left the USA, they're in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.

Large company hurting small company (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635374)

Sometimes the only defense a small company has against a large company is through a lawsuit. Redhat's business practices of using someone else's intellectual property reminds me of many of the arguments used against Microsoft.

Are we about to see Linux companies taking pages out of the playbook of Microsoft?

Re:Large company hurting small company (2, Informative)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635528)

Ugh, I hate trolls. Regardless, this is nothing but an object mapping, and it has been around years before Firestar. This should be an easy one for Red Hat.
Regards,
Steve

Invalid patent; no defense (2, Informative)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635383)

Recall that RIM was forced to settle to the tune of half-a-billion dollars even though the patents were in the process of being successfully challenged. I don't know if the settlement involved dropping the challenge, too.

I have read the patent and in my opinion it does not describe a method at all. It is just an example, with a few diagrams, of how a mapping might be done. There are thousands of academic papers that describe systematic ways of doing this, and lots of products, too.

So what exactly does this patent cover? A for instance of how to map the "name" method of an object into a "name" column in a table?

It is laughable that this patent was granted; however, I doubt Red Hat share the laughter.

Re:Invalid patent; no defense (2, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635678)

Recall that RIM was forced to settle to the tune of half-a-billion dollars even though the patents were in the process of being successfully challenged.
I vote that we call this sort of bottom feeding patent extortion scam RIMMING.

Re:Invalid patent; no defense (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635775)

RIM chose to settle NTP v. RIM.

They weren't forced to settle -- no one is ever forced to settle.
You either choose to settle, or you wait for a verdict.

Re:Invalid patent; no defense (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635795)

Sorry, there was a verdict, and their appeal was denied. I call that "forced to settle," don't you?

Re:Invalid patent; no defense (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635906)

No, thats called losing.
Settling and losing are different things.

Re:Invalid patent; no defense (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635939)

Under threat of injunction and following pointed instruction by the judge, they settled prior to a judgement being imposed.

Prior Art (4, Interesting)

bbroerman (715822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635446)

At my company, we wrote software that basically does the same thing back in the late 80's - early 90's and have been using it for high-profile, high-cost software ever since... While I don't know if we ever applied for a patent on the idea, I would bet that there is a lot of prior art out there... I just hope that Red Hat's lawyers are good enough to find it and use it appropriately.

Re:Prior Art (1)

rawb (529039) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635969)

Maybe you should alert them to your prior-art (with source code if your management approves), instead of just hoping they stumble upon it...

smalltalk (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635476)

Smalltalk at an OR/M mapping engine from about 1994. I think I'm right in saying it was subsequently acquired by Oracle, ported to Java and became know as Toplink. In any case it's a pretty clear-cut prior art so the patent won't stand if anyone wants to defend it.

GreaseShackle Sniggle Frigate? QOPD the TLA? (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635508)

Would someone kindly translate the FP's title for those of us not intimate (in the Biblical sense) with Java's current political environment?

Firestar's not the only one (2, Funny)

defile (1059) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635577)

We too have suffered and will continue to suffer substantial damages due to Hibernate.

How to cure the world of all known diseases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635595)

That patent reminds me of Monty Pythons directions on how to cure the world of all known diseases:

"Well, first of all, become a doctor and discover a marvelous cure for something, and then, when the medical profession really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there'll never be any diseases ever again."

Ontos Inc. Product? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635611)

Did the company change its name or something? Here is a 5 year old article discussing a product by a company called Ontos Inc. The product is called Object Spark. I'm seeing version 4 in 2001. How old is this suite? http://www.intelligententerprise.com/010507/produc ts1_1.jhtml [intelligen...rprise.com]

It is also interesting to see the product is designed to work on Windows.
ObjectSpark data components can be deployed on any Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) or COM+ server. ObjectSpark was originally designed for developers building distributed applications in the Microsoft Windows DNA application framework.

Okay okay (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635658)

while this lawsuit is obvious BS, at least these guys have a working functional model for their patent (unlike some others in the patent market). Ya gotta give them at least 2 points for that.

Microsoft also has the patent on O/R mapping... (1)

Otis_INF (130595) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635669)

Fresh patents.com link [freshpatents.com]

Not only that, Objectspark is one of the most expensive o/r mappers on the planet. It comes at a price of at least $20,000 (twenty thousand dollars) a pop.

Add to that that TopLink is at least 10 years old, we can safely say, Firestar is trying but is doing that in the wrong area: they should simply lower their prices and increase their value for money.

Their .NET product has failed, and I'm pretty sure their Java product isn't doing that well either, considering alternatives which cost at least a lot less.

FB, lead developer LLBLGen Pro

Re:Microsoft also has the patent on O/R mapping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635789)

A lot less if your working in Java since Hibernate is licenced under the LGPL so anybody can freely use it. Its not tied solely to JBoss although its the parent organization. You can use Hibernate with Tomcat, Suns app server, anyplace.

Too Obvious (2, Insightful)

Hoolala (976766) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635807)

ORM is not rocket science. Practically all the possible techniques/strategies are well-known. If this patent is not overturned, ORM vendors will be in trouble and so will any software (written in an OO language) that persists data/state in a database.

http://helpredhat.dyndns.org (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15635829)

Hi,

I created a small website with MediaWiki, which is dedicated to collect Prior Art against this patent. This will help Red Hat and might prevent the same patent from beeing issued in Europe, Canada, Japan and other countries.

Let's show the world that this wasn't a new invention in 1998 !

http://helpredhat.dyndns.org/ [dyndns.org]

Infuriating (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#15635944)

I'm pretty sure object-relational mapping has been around since long before 2000 though, if that's what the patent is about.
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