Red Hat Seeks Defense Against Patent Lawsuit

Feb 19, 2009

In October 2007 IP Innovation filed a lawsuit against Novell and Red Hat for violation of certain virtual desktop patents. Red Hat is now asking the community for help to invalidate it.

IP Innovation LLC, a subsidiary of the California Acacia Technologies patent enforcement firm, had filed a claim in Texas court that Red Hat and Novell had violated three U.S. patents concerning a user interface with multiple workspaces. Red Hat is now seeking to counter the claim by providing proof that the technology had already been widespread at the time of the lawsuit, citing the "prior art" provision.

Red Hat has published information in its defense on the Post-Issue Peer to Patent pages of the Linux Defenders website. The patents had originated March 25, 1987, and addressed a "User interface with multiple workspaces for sharing display system objects" (full details of the lawsuit from Groklaw).

In a Fedora-announce-list e-mail, Red Hat's VP and counsel Rob Tiller claims that his company has "strong defenses in this lawsuit," but nevertheless seeks input from the FOSS community "to submit prior art relevant to the patents" to "reinforce" their defense.

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