Companies protest burden of proof in intellectual property lawsuits

Red Hat joins calls for software patent reform

Red Hat has joined a group of companies to send an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court protesting the state of software patent law.

According to the Inquirer, the Linux specialist has teamed up with a variety of companies, including Google, Verizon, Comcast, Dell, HP, Mastercard and Time Warner in sending the brief – which is filed by someone who is not directly related to the case in question – for consideration in the Microsoft vs i4i lawsuit.

The basis of the brief is that the burden of proof is on the defendant to prove that they have not violated patents or that the plaintiff has been granted a patent improperly. According to the brief, the system currently favours those plaintiffs who hold dubious patents.

“Burdens of proof sound technical, but they make an enormous practical difference in how lawsuits come out,” said Red Hat’s assistant general counsel, Rob Tiller.

“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.”

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