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Red Hat Puts Patent Issue to Rest
RaleighUnited States, June 11, 2008
Red Hat drives settlement of Firestar/DataTern patent litigation to provide broad protections for Red Hat's customers and the open source community
Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the settlement of patent litigation involving Firestar Software, Inc. and DataTern, Inc. The settlement protects Red Hat's customers and the open source community from similar suits and sets an important precedent in the breadth of protection for the open source community.
Red Hat was sued for patent infringement by Firestar in 2006 and later by DataTern. Red Hat denied the infringement claims and in time drove a settlement that not only ended the particular claims against it, but also provided for extensive protections for its customers and the larger open source community that Red Hat relies upon.
"Typically when a company settles a patent lawsuit, it focuses on getting safety for itself," said Rob Tiller, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, IP. "But that was not enough for us, we wanted broad provisions that covered our customers, who place trust in us, and the open source community, whose considerable efforts benefit our business."
The covered products include all software distributed under Red Hat's brands, as well as upstream predecessor versions. The settlement also protects derivative works of, or combination products using, the covered products from any patent claim based in any respect on the covered products. Essentially, all that have innovated to create, or that will innovate with, software distributed under Red Hat brands are protected, as are Red Hat customers.
"Red Hat's settlement satisfies the most stringent patent provisions in open source licenses, is consistent with the letter and spirit of all versions of the GPL and provides patent safety for developers, distributors and users of open source software," said Richard Fontana, Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel at Red Hat.
Paul Frields, Fedora Project Leader noted that, "Through the coverage of both upstream and downstream developers and distributors in the settlement, the Fedora community (and others) are given protection that builds on the assurances that Red Hat already offers. Given the software patent world in which we must operate, this is a good day for the Fedora global community."
Red Hat has consistently maintained that software patents impede innovation in the software industry and conflict with open source development and distribution. Open source requires transparency that allows members of the community to use, modify and share software with one another without constraint. Through its Open Source Assurance program, Red Hat provides open source intellectual property protections that protect its customers and encourages them to deploy with confidence. The program provides assurances for customers that cover Red Hat-branded subscription products and also provides indemnification protection.
About Red Hat, Inc.
Red Hat, the world's leading open source solutions provider, is headquartered in Raleigh, NC with over 50 satellite offices spanning the globe. CIOs have ranked Red Hat first for value in Enterprise Software for four consecutive years in the CIO Insight Magazine Vendor Value study. Red Hat provides high-quality, affordable technology with its operating system platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, together with applications, management and Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) solutions, including the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite. Red Hat also offers support, training and consulting services to its customers worldwide. Learn more: http://www.redhat.com.
Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: risks related to the integration of acquisitions; the ability of the Company to effectively compete; the inability to adequately protect Company intellectual property and the potential for infringement or breach of license claims of or relating to third party intellectual property; risks related to data and information security vulnerabilities; ineffective management of, and control over, the Company's growth and international operations; adverse results in litigation; and changes in and a dependence on key personnel, as well as other factors contained in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K (copies of which may be accessed through the Securities and Exchange Commission's Web site at http://www.sec.gov), including those found therein under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations". In addition to these factors, actual future performance, outcomes, and results may differ materially because of more general factors including (without limitation) general industry and market conditions and growth rates, economic conditions, and governmental and public policy changes. The forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release and these views could change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to the date of the press release.
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