[rabbitmq-discuss] RedHat's Pending AMQP w/ XML Patent

Alexis Richardson alexis.richardson at gmail.com
Mon Mar 16 17:46:06 GMT 2009


Thanks for that.  I agree with you.

I suppose a defense lawyer might pitch that applying the known
approach of XQuery to a focussed application area - AMQP - makes it
novel.  My response would be that all this does is suggest the patent
claim is a direct attack on AMQP since the non-AMQP work is obviously
prior art.


On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 5:41 PM, anders conbere <aconbere at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 7:19 AM, Alexis Richardson
> <alexis.richardson at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Matt,
>> On Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 3:23 PM, Matt Heitzenroder
>> <mheitzenroder at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> We are implementing a project using RabbitMQ.
>> Cool - and thanks for getting in touch.
>>> I would be interested in LShift's/CohesiveFT's opinion on the patent
>>> filed by RedHat, per http://bit.ly/lTFb
>> That's a very interesting question.  We've brought this to the
>> attention of the AMQP Working Group, of which we are a member.
>> Currently the matter is under discussion - so keep an eye on how
>> things evolve.
>> The way AMQP works is that ALL members of the WG grant a patent
>> license to ALL implementers and users of AMQP for patents held that
>> may affect use of AMQP.  So anything in the specification is
>> definitely safe from patent abuse and this is upheld by a substantial
>> body of law and commercial interest.  This is similar to, say, the
>> W3C.  AMQP is protected from royalty and tenancy abuse, as befits an
>> Internet protocol.
>> The problem with this particular patent application is that it covers
>> something not currently in the AMQP spec.  Were the AMQP spec to
>> include XML exchanges as an "Extension", then Red Hat would be obliged
>> to grant licenses to users and implementers, if the patent had been
>> approved.  We don't expect this particular patent to get approved --
>> it is too 'obvious'.  In any case we and other members of the Working
>> Group are taking steps to make sure AMQP stays 100% free and open,
>> even for extensions of this sort.  We want that because it promotes
>> interop as the spec evolves, and attracts many more implementers.
>> We are however very annoyed about the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt that
>> actions like this cause.  We are astonished that Red Hat applied for a
>> patent of this type -- as long ago as 2007 would you believe --
>> without talking to the Working Group about the best way to protect
>> AMQP Extensions from patent spam and other abuse such as trolling.
>> The cheapest and easiest solution would have been to establish
>> defensive prior art by making this very obvious design very public
>> indeed, preferably attached to legal language placing the text of the
>> claim in a safe domain (such as AMQP WG, FSF, or Public).  The fact
>> that this was not done, raises questions about Red Hat business
>> practice and casts doubt on their motives.  I suppose for now we shall
>> all draw our own conclusions.
> After reading the patent, it seems as though this is really an attempt
> to patent a method which has been in use by many middleware products
> simply applied to a new protocol (AMQP). Routing messages based on
> data contained withing XML stanzas, where the route is defined by an
> Xpath. (one could even sight XMPP as being excellent prior art),. I
> would be astonished if this patent application were granted.
> ~ Anders
>> I hope that Red Hat come clean about their intentions and help to
>> defuse any FUD.  I do believe they are sincerely committed to the
>> existing Working Group contracts and would like to see them defend
>> open standards in the future.  Note that I use 'open standard'
>> advisedly -- the situation here is very different from the OIN patent
>> portfolio which is designed to protect Linux.  There is no notion of
>> interop for Linux, at least nothing like AMQP interop.  The approaches
>> used by the W3C and IETF are more appropriate here.
>>> How does this effect RabbitMQ?
>> Currently not at all.  We shall work to make sure that it never does
>> and expect to be able to report a suitable guarantee on behalf of the
>> Working Group as soon as possible.  There are a number of ways to do
>> this, none of which are terribly difficult, and people in the Working
>> Group are working as a group to make it happen and do so unambiguously
>> :-)
>>> What about the overall effect on the
>>> adoption of AMQP?
>> I don't think that scaring users and implementers is good for AMQP
>> adoption.  This gives Red Hat, and everyone else, a strong incentive
>> to sort out the mess they have caused.  Then we can all move on,
>> probably stronger for the experience.
>> Let me know if this helps,
>> Alexis Richardson,
>> RabbitMQ
>>> Cheers,
>>> Matt
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