IBM uses pledged patents against open source mainframe emulator
In 2005, IBM pledged to not use five hundred patents against open source software. In 2010, two of those patents have shown up in a letter from IBM to TurboHercules SAS. The Hercules project, started eleven years ago, is a mainframe emulator which allows mainframe users to run IBM's z/OS and applications written for it on commodity hardware.
TurboHercules SAS, a French start-up founded by Roger Bowler who started the Hercules project, wants to offer TurboHercules as a disaster recovery solution for IBM mainframe users and wrote to IBM asking for a way it could do that. IBM's response, published today by NoSoftwarePatents founder Florian Mueller, was to turn down the request and accuse TurboHercules of intellectual property infringement.
The letter includes a "non-exhaustive" list of 106 IBM patents and 67 pending patent applications. Mueller found that on examining the list, two of the patents mentioned in the letter, 5613086 and 5220669 are among the five hundred patents in the IBM patent pledge. Mueller says "This betrayal of the promise is unbelievable, but I never believed that IBM was sincere about that pledge in the first place". He calls for regulatory intervention against IBM and points out that TurboHercules had already lodged anti-trust complaint with the European Commission.