Red Hat, Google challenge software patents

The companies have filed an amicus brief contending that the burden of proof to invalidate patents impedes innovation

Red Hat, Google, Dell, and several other companies have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging "poor quality" software patents, Red Hat said on Thursday.

The brief, filed in the case of Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership, contends the burden of proof applied to invalidate patents impedes innovation and should be changed. The case concerns whether a party attempting to show that a patent should never have been granted must establish invalidity by clear-and-convincing evidence. Amicus parties argue this standard favors holders of bad patents and should be replaced by the standard of preponderance of evidence.

[ A Supreme Court ruling last year kept software patents intact. Oracle's lawsuit against Google's Android, also involves the issue of patents. | Keep up on the day's tech news headlines with InfoWorld's Today's Headlines: Wrap Up newsletter. ]

"Burdens of proof sound technical, but they make an enormous practical difference in how lawsuits come out," said Rob Tiller, assistant general counsel for IP at Red Hat, in a statement released by the company. "As things now stand, the clear-and-convincing burden prevents invalidation of lots of patents that should never have been granted. A decision from the Court that corrects that would be great for software innovation."

An industry analyst, however, called for patent reform.

"Patent issues are escalating, and I wonder if this is the best way to attack the issue versus more radical patent reform," said analyst Al Hilwa, of IDC. "Patents are the law of the land, but as the number of patents escalates and more code moves to open source, developers are increasingly the target of claims on their code. To me this calls for more structural reform."

Available at Red Hat's website (PDF), the brief also explains how large numbers of bad patents are issued based on minimal review and how those bad patents hinder innovation, Red Hat said. Even when there is strong evidence of invalidity, this evidence often is technical and it may be difficult for a jury without a technical background to conclude the evidence is clear, the company said.

Other companies participating in the brief include: Verizon, Consumer Electronics Association, Comcast, Hewlett-Packard, HTC, Intuit, L-3 Communications, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, Mastercard, The New York Times, Rackspace, Shutterfly, Software & Information Industry Association, Time Warner, Wal-Mart, and Zynga.

Red Hat has previously filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court, including one this past December seeking a reversal of a court decision that threatens to expand patent litigation, the company said.

This article, "Red Hat, Google challenge software patents," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Read more about the industry standard in InfoWorld's The Industry Standard Channel.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesGoogleMicrosoftintellectual propertylegalThe Industry StandardbusinessRed HatOracleDell

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?