RALEIGH, N.C - —
Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, has continued its efforts to improve the U.S. patent system and to challenge poor quality software patents. Red Hat joined a large group of companies in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court which explained that the burden of proof applied to invalidate patents impedes innovation and should be changed.
The amicus brief was filed in the case of Microsoft v. i4i Limited Partnership. Red Hat joined the brief with Google, Verizon, Consumer Electronics Association, Comcast, Dell, 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.
This case concerns whether the party attempting to show that a patent should never have been granted must establish invalidity by clear-and-convincing evidence. The amicus parties argue that this standard favors holders of bad patents, and should be replaced by the standard of preponderance of the evidence. The amicus brief explains that the existing burden rule is bad law that should be corrected by the Supreme Court. The brief further explains how large numbers of bad patents are issued based on minimal review, and how those bad patents hinder innovation. Even when there is strong evidence of invalidity, that evidence is often technical, and it may be difficult for a jury without a technical background to conclude that the evidence is clear.
"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. "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 which corrects that would be great for software innovation."
Red Hat has filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in the past, including a brief submitted in December 2010 seeking reversal of a lower court decision that threatens to expand patent litigation. Red Hat also addressed the Court on the issue of patentability for abstract subject matter in an amicus brief submitted in October 2009 in the Bilski case.
To read the full amicus brief, please visit: /f/pdf/amicus-brief-2011-02-02.pdf. For more information, please visit opensource.com or press.redhat.com.
About Red Hat, Inc.
Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions and a component of the S&P 500, is headquartered in Raleigh, NC with over 65 offices spanning the globe. CIOs ranked Red Hat as one of the top vendors delivering value in Enterprise Software for seven consecutive years in the CIO Insight Magazine Vendor Value survey. Red Hat provides high-quality, affordable technology with its operating system platform, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, together with virtualization, applications, management and Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) solutions, including Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and JBoss Enterprise Middleware. Red Hat also offers support, training and consulting services to its customers worldwide. Learn more: http://www.redhat.com.
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