“When patent troll Acacia sued Red Hat in 2007, it ended with a
bang: Acacia’s patents were invalidated by the court, and all
software developers, open-source or not, had one less legal risk to
cope with. So, why is the outcome of Red Hat’s next tangle with
Acacia being kept secret, and how is a Texas court helping to keep
it that way? Could the outcome have placed Red Hat in violation of
the open-source licenses on its own product?
“The suit in question — Software Tree LLC v. Red Hat, Inc.
– claimed that JBoss, the well-known Java web software,
infringed upon U.S. Patent No. 6163776 (PDF), which essentially
claims invention of the object-relational database paradigm. In
that paradigm, an object in an object-oriented software language
represents a database record, and the attributes of the object
represent fields in the database, making it possible for
programmers to access a database without writing any SQL. It’s a
common element in most web programming environments today.”