Red Hat settles Hibernate patent suits

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Open source distributor Red Hat has come under fire after settling two patent suits for an undisclosed sum..

The open source community believes that the firm should have faced up to the opponents and had the patents struck down as invalid by the courts.

The infringement claims were brought by Firestar Software and DataTern and concerned Hibernate, a product Red Hat acquired when it bought JBoss in 2006.

Red Hat claims that the terms of the settlement will offer broad protection for upstream developers, downstream distributors and Red Hat's customers.

"We wanted broad provisions that covered our customers, who place trust in us, and the open source community, whose considerable efforts benefit our business," said a statement from Red Hat's in-house lawyer Rob Tiller.

But critics maintain that the litigants' ready agreement to such a permissive settlement shows that the patents were dubious.

If Red Hat had taken the case to court and disputed the patents' validity, the company could have had the patent struck down thus preventing future litigation against open source projects that use similar technology, they argue.
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