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Standing up to a patent bully

May 12, 2010, 04:32 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rob Tiller)

"Red Hat and Novell stood up to a patent bully and got a favorable jury verdict in the IPI trial which invalidated some software patents that should never have been issued. It's hard to see how that's not a good thing for open source. It's also good that the particular battle has inspired discussion of the need for fundamental reform of the U.S. patent system. Red Hat has vigorously advocated such reform, and has taken strong positions on software patentability before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Bilski case and the European Patent Office.

"But for the time being, the system is what it is. "Non-practicing entities" like Acacia which specialize in exploiting the system are permitted to bring lawsuits, and one way or another the targets need to address those suits. Most of the time, targeted companies settle. That's understandable in some cases, but in the IPI case the intransigence of Acacia meant that Red Hat and Novell had no choice but to fight. So we did.

"Now that the smoke from the battle is clearing, it's fair to say there were several important efforts that led to victory. I'd like to single out one for special mention: the contributions of Michael Tiemann..."

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