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Red Hat Files Brief with U.S. Supreme Court Opposing Expansion of Standard for Inducing Patent Infringement

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Joint Amicus Brief Argues Upholding Current Patent Infringement Standards Could Impede Innovation

Raleigh, NC -- Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, yesterday joined in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking correction of the standard for inducing patent infringement. The “friend of the court,” or amicus brief, submitted by Red Hat and others seeks reversal of a lower court decision that threatens to expand patent litigation. The brief argues that the law requires that only those who actually know of the specific patent at issue and know that it covers the alleged infringing activity can be found liable.

In the case under review, Global-Tech Appliances, Inc v. SEB S.A., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that inducement liability can be imposed on those who have no knowledge of the patent at issue. It used a standard of “deliberate indifference,” which it applied so as to equate to a negligence standard. This is inconsistent with the Supreme Court's prior case law. Inducement claims are significant because they are frequently brought against technology companies when there is little or no argument that they directly infringe a patent.

According to Rob Tiller, Red Hat's Assistant General Counsel for IP, “The serious problem of bad software patents is exacerbated by the Federal Circuit's decision. Holding technology innovators liable for inducing infringement of patents of which they have no actual knowledge raises the already substantial risks of innovation, and is counter to the public interest. The Supreme Court's willingness to address this issue is encouraging, and its decision could be a meaningful step to improve this important part of the patent system.”

The case is likely to be scheduled for argument next spring. Along with Red Hat, the brief was submitted by Yahoo Inc., eBay, Inc., Electronic Arts Inc., General Motors LLP, Hewlett Packard Company, McAfee, Inc. and Symantec Corporation. Red Hat has long been a defender of innovation in the court system, previously filing briefs with both the European Patent Office and in the United States in an effort to preserve innovators' rights. Most recently, Red Hat filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Bilski case, explaining the practical problems of software patents to software developers in slowing and discouraging software innovation.

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About Red Hat, Inc.

Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions and an S&P 500 company, 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:

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements provide current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: risks related to delays or reductions in information technology spending, the effects of industry consolidation, uncertainty and adverse results in litigation and related settlements, the integration of acquisitions and the ability to market successfully acquired technologies and products; the ability of the Company to effectively compete; the inability to adequately protect Company intellectual property and the potential for infringement or breach of license claims of or relating to third party intellectual property; the ability to deliver and stimulate demand for new products and technological innovations on a timely basis; risks related to data and information security vulnerabilities; ineffective management of, and control over, the Company's growth and international operations; fluctuations in exchange rates; and changes in and a dependence on key personnel, as well as other factors contained in our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q (copies of which may be accessed through the Securities and Exchange Commission's website at, including those found therein under the captions "Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations". In addition to these factors, actual future performance, outcomes, and results may differ materially because of more general factors including (without limitation) general industry and market conditions and growth rates, economic conditions, and governmental and public policy changes. The forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of the date of this press release and these views could change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to the date of the press release.

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