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Submission + - RedHat celebrates AMQP/1.0 release with new patent ( 6

pieterh writes: "One day before the "Advanced Message Queuing Protocol" AMQP/1.0 becomes an OASIS standard, Red Hat secures
patent number 8,301,595, for accessing an LDAP server over AMQP. In January 2008 I provided to the AMQP Working Group, including Red Hat, the Digest-AMQP spec, "a way to integrate WWW servers and LDAP servers over an AMQP network." Here's the GitHub repository. Red Hat's patent 8,301,595 was filed two and a half years later, on June 14, 2010. In 2009 I wrote about another Red Hat patent on AMQP. That time, Red Hat said required patents would be made available royalty-free, but then as now, the patent was not on the standard but of a common use around it."


Submission + - Red Hat's plan for software patents in Europe (

WMGarrison writes: "In 2005, as the battle over software patents reached its climax, Red Hat explained their plan for software patents: extend US-style patents to Europe, make software patents stronger and harder to defeat, and create an interoperability niche that would prevent patent claims on Windows-Linux interoperation. Instead of working with the Abolitionists — FFII, FSF, and hundreds of small software firms — to end software patents in Europe, Red Hat was working to rewrite the law and remove the protection from patents that Europe's small software sector had enjoyed until then."

Submission + - Red Hat claims patent on SOAP over CGI? ( 1

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 on Claim 2, since both XHTML and SOAP are XML languages. This patent thus claims to own the processing of SOAP documents by CGI programs."

Comment Re:GPL a pretty good shield. (Score 3, Interesting) 147

This is not a question of preventing patent trolls from patenting the same thing.

Firstly, because AMQP has hundreds or thousands of areas that could be similarly patented: failover, federation, many types of exchange, remote administration, etc. It only takes one patent to hold the whole standard to ransom. Red Hat would have to patent every single technical aspect of the standard, which would be impossible in practical terms.

Secondly, because there are much cheaper ways of stopping patent trolls from patenting obvious things: publish them, register them as prior art at the USPTO.

It's naive to think that the only way patents are used is to 'go after' projects. 99% of the time, patents of this sort are used in discrete discussions with potential clients. "You know, we hold a patent on that... (hint hint)". This is enough to scare the customer into at least not using a rival product, open source or not. Indeed, patents that make it to court tend to die rather faster than patents used under the table.

The irony of this patent is that technically, it's not that interesting. Dynamic message routing on XML is not difficult, but not efficient. It's much faster to pre-calculate routing keys and indices, as the existing AMQP exchanges do.

So I think Red Hat are simply playing the game of collecting software patents like points.

However, I really expected better from Red Hat.

Comment Re:I Believe in Trolls (Score 1) 147

It's pretty difficult to see this story as representative of a legitimate concern, at least of any informed person. Among all of the major distributions of Linux, Red Hat is probably the most Free Software oriented (except perhaps for Debian). As a member of OIN, they contribute patents licensed to other members in order to create a defence against patent lawsuits. They've repeatedly and consistently put their money into Free Software by purchasing desirable products and re-licensing them under the GPL. They're one of the largest contributors of code to the Linux kernel, GNU libc, gcc, GNOME, and other core components of GNU/Linux distributions.

And after all of that, the very notion of Red Hat suiting up to sue Free Software developers is completely ridiculous, because doing so would void their license to distribute the software.

This article is just another troll painting one of the Free Software community's leaders in an undeserved poor light. Whether the author is completely ignorant of the subject matter, or is intentionally trolling, this story deserves a place in the dust bin.

All patenting around open standards is a concern, both to developers of the standards, and users. A patent holder's intentions may, and often do, change over the course of the 20 years the patent may exist.

In this case, Red Hat seem to be seeking "ownership" of areas around the standard. They don't need to sue anyone to establish this, that is a straw man. The simple fact of owning patents is enough to scare potential customers away from competitors.

I've personally worked with Red Hat in fighting software patents in Europe but would not consider this story to be a troll. Any FOSS firm that is willing to spend money on patents, but not the fight against software patents (and I can tell you that to the best of my knowledge RHAT are not funding the main European groups against software patents), is working the wrong side.

So this story seems relevant if only to highlight how behaviour changes when money is involved.

When Red Hat seek software patents around an open standard, that's news.

Comment Patenting open standards = evil (Score 1) 2

This makes me really, really furious. Patents on open standards are evil, just a way of taxing those who make products on those open standards. I happen to know the background to AMQP really well. Most of what Red Hat has contributed is utter crap (read the 0-10 spec to get an idea of how poor!) The real work is done by others. Yet Red Hat want to claim patents on extensions of AMQP that should be standardised. Why? So they can collar clients and say, "we own the patents, buy our licenses or we'll sue you." Just like any common or garden patent troll.

I'm boycotting Red Hat as long as they pull stunts like this, and advising my clients and partners to do the same. Firms that deliberately create patent thickets around open standards do not deserve to get support from the FOSS community.

It's not Red Hat's Novell moment, it's their Unisys moment. Remember GIF? Remember Unisys's attempts afterwards to build a FOSS business?


Submission + - Red Hat patenting around open standards 2

I Believe in Unicorns writes: Red Hat's patent policy says "In an attempt to protect and promote the open source community, Red Hat has elected to... develop a corresponding portfolio of software patents for defensive purposes. We do so reluctantly..." Meanwhile, USPTO Application #: 20090063418 "Method and an apparatus to deliver messages between applications", claims a patent on routing messages using an XQuery match, which is an extension of the "unencumbered" AMQP protocol that Red Hat is helping to make. Is this a defensive patent, or are Red Hat cynically staking out a software patent claim to an obvious extension of AMQP? Is Red Hat's promise to "refrain from enforcing the infringed patent" against open source a reliable contract, or a trap for the unwary? Given the Microsoft-Red Hat deal in February are we seeing Red Hat's "Novell Moment?"

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