Legal Woes for the Apache Drill Project

Open Source Software is once again under attack by large corporations

The Apache Software Foundation, which provides support for the Apache Community of open-source software projects has come under fire. Court papers were filed by power tool power house Black & Decker, makers of some of the most well known power tools on the market.

The filing states that Black & Decker own United States Patent D540645 for a unique way to insert drill bits into a drill called a drill chuck. The complaint claims that the Apache Drill project has knowingly violated this patent by continually ignoring the cease and desist letters sent by Black & Decker legal counsel. “This is blatant disregard for the law,” said Bruce Beatt, legal counsel for Black & Decker. “Just because they foster an open community doesn’t mean we must allow them to violate our intellectual property rights.”

“This is blatant disregard for the law”

It seems clear, based on what appears to be a frivolous lawsuit, that Black & Decker really doesn’t understand what the Apache Software Foundation does or for that matter have any understanding at all of Apache Drill.

The mere fact they could so drastically misunderstand the difference between a physical power tool and a powerful tool to perform data analytics (Apache Drill) on big data is mind blowing.

When we reached out to the Apache Drill project for comment they responded in what sounded like exasperation. “Apache Drill is an open source, low latency SQL query engine for Hadoop and NoSQL. It can scale to thousands of computers and query data in its native format,” said Tomer Shiran, apache drill pmc member. “We believe this case will get thrown out before it ever makes it to court. We just have to educate businesses on the benefits of this open source software and remind them that this is a tool for drilling into data, not lumber.”

Hopefully we don’t see actions like this against other misunderstood technologies. We really need people in positions of power to learn that you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, or you just might end up looking foolish.

“Don’t believe everything
you read on the Internet.”

— Abraham Lincoln

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