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.

Tags business issuesGoogleintellectual propertyMicrosoftlegalbusinessThe Industry StandardRed HatOracleDell

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

Paul Krill

InfoWorld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?