Red Hat and Sun Microsystems Team to Help Defeat European Software Patent Directive


United States, July 6, 2005

The European Parliament voted today to reject the Computer-Implemented Inventions directive, the so-called 'software patent' directive. Red Hat and Sun Microsystems combined efforts with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) to bring about this victory for those who value free and open source software. The Parliamentary rejection represents a request for better legislation; legislation that will ensure that software "as such" is not patentable. Despite the heavy lobbying efforts of big industry, including dominant software companies favouring ratification of the common position on the directive, an unamended directive that would permit the patenting of software, the European Parliament conducted an exercise in democracy, ensuring that all participants had access and were heard. Parliament's action today reinforces the need for balanced legislation that ensures a competitive software industry in Europe.

"This outcome is a clear victory for open source," said Simon Phipps, Chief Open Source Officer at Sun Microsystems. "It expresses Parliaments clear desire to provide a balanced, competitive market for software, one that gives equal access to participants of all sizes. This action further sustains the clear mandate to our elected officials to assure that new legislation represents the interests of all, including consumers and the public and not just big industry."

"The actions of Parliament, and the efforts of our friends at FFII in bringing about this result, have been simply amazing," said Mark Webbink, Deputy General Counsel of Red Hat, Inc. "The action of Parliament affirms that the scope of patentability in the proposed legislation was too broad, that it is better to have no legislation than bad legislation, and that there is no connection between innovation and software patents. We applaud the efforts of all who have contributed to bring about this successful result."

Sun and Red Hat, both with long histories in the open source community, set aside their competitive differences in this process. Both companies felt the interests of free and open source software merited cooperation at a high level.

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.

A singular visionâeuro”"The Network Is The Computer"âeuro”guides Sun in the development of technologies that power the world's most important markets. Sun's philosophy of sharing innovation and building communities is at the forefront of the next wave of computing: the Participation Age. Sun can be found in more than 100 countries and on the Web at

About Red Hat, Inc.

Red Hat, the world's leading open source and Linux provider, is headquartered in Raleigh, NC with satellite offices spanning the globe. Red Hat is leading Linux and open source solutions into the mainstream by making high quality, low cost technology accessible. Red Hat provides operating system software along with middleware, applications and management solutions. Red Hat also offers support, training and consulting services to its customers worldwide and through top-tier partnerships. Red Hat's open source strategy offers customers a long term plan for building infrastructures that are based on and leverage open source technologies with focus on security and ease of management. Learn more:

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