Judge delays ruling, urges settlement in MySQL suit

A hearing in Boston federal court Wednesday adjourned an hour earlier than expected when District Court Judge Patti B. Saris urged MySQL AB and Progress Software Corp. to reach a settlement instead of having her issue a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit involving the GNU General Public License (GPL).

MySQL alleges that Progress is using its self-titled database software, MySQL, in violation of the GNU GPL, which covers copyright terms under which free and open source software is released. The GPL requires that if a company combines GPL software with software it develops and then distributes, it must release modifications and the new software source code under the GPL. MySQL alleges that Progress' subsidiary company, NuSphere Corp., included a component in its NuSphere MySQL Advantage product, a product built on MySQL's database, that under terms of the GPL should have been released along with its source code, and was not.

MySQL, based in Uppsala, Sweden, also alleges that NuSphere and Progress, both in Bedford, Massachusetts, are infringing on MySQL's trademarks by including the name of its database and company in NuSphere's products. Progress denies wrongdoing on both counts.

MySQL was asking Judge Saris to issue an injunction to bar NuSphere from distributing NuSphere MySQL Advantage, alleging it was in violation of the GPL, and from using the MySQL trademarks.

Saris declined to issue a ruling, however, and urged both sides to attempt to reach a settlement.

"This is not a bad time to work out a business relationship or the end of a business relationship," she said.

Before pushing the parties toward a settlement, the judge previewed a likely outcome of the preliminary injunction if a settlement is not reached. For a preliminary injunction to be granted, she said, the plaintiff must show that it is being done irreparable harm.

On the GPL issue, Saris told MySQL that "I haven't seen the irreparable harm to you and I have seen it to Progress," if its business were shut down.

The judge was leaning against granting the preliminary injunction on the GPL issue for MySQL, though she also said that she was leaning toward granting it on the trademark front for MySQL.

William Ryan, a lawyer with the Baltimore firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP, argued on MySQL's behalf that "everyday that this goes on, our client's name, our client's goodwill ... is associated with a product that violates the basic premise" under which it was released, the GPL.

For its part, Progress, NuSphere's parent company, argued that it would face irreparable harm to a business it has already spent millions of dollars developing if it is barred from selling MySQL products.

"If we are not permitted to distribute MySQL ... essentially there's no reason for (NuSphere) to exist," said Peter Brown, a lawyer with the firm of Brown, Raysman, Millstein, Felder & Stein LLP.

Executives from both MySQL and Progress were in the courtroom. Part of the judge's desire to reach a settlement stemmed from the presence of the MySQL executives, who had flown in from Scandinavia for the hearing, but plan to return home by the weekend.

Once the case goes to trial, both sides said they expect it will take them no more than six months to complete discovery -- or disclosure to the other side -- of evidence relevant to the case.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sam Costello

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?