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Red Hat settles patent suit with Firestar, DataTern

Linux provider reaches an agreement with two companies alleging that its JBoss unit had infringed a patent for linking object-oriented software to relational databases.

Red Hat announced on Wednesday that it has reached a settlement with Firestar Software and DataTern over a patent infringement lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed two years ago in a U.S. District Court in Texas, centered on Firestar's patent for linking object-oriented software with relational databases.

Firestar, in its lawsuit, had alleged that JBoss, which Red Hat had acquired, violated its patent with the JBoss Hibernate 3.0 object-relational mapping tool for Java. Hibernate 3.0 had an open license.

Under the settlement, whose financial terms were not disclosed, all software distributed under Red Hat's brands and predecessor versions are covered, as well as Red Hat customers that use the software. The software protects derivative works, or combination products, that use covered products from the patent claim.

"Typically, when a company settles a patent lawsuit, it focuses on getting safety for itself," Rob Tiller, Red Hat's assistant general counsel of intellectual property, said in a statement. "But that was not enough for us; we wanted broad provisions that covered our customers."

DataTern became involved in the lawsuit after Firestar assigned the patent to DataTern.