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 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 on Twitter.

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

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags businessMicrosoftOraclebusiness issuesGooglelegalDellRed Hatintellectual propertyThe Industry Standard

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

Paul Krill

Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

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.

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?