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Red Hat Defends Rackspace, Defeats Linux Patent Trolls

From the 'East Texas Courtroom Shenanigans' files:

Linux vendor Red Hat announced this AM that is has defeated Uniloc USA, Inc. in a patent law suitLinux Servers.

Uniloc didn't actually sue Red Hat directly, they went after Rackspace (a Red Hat customer). Red Hat indemnifies its customers and has since it launched its Open Source Assurance programback in 2004.

The patent in question is U.S. Patent 5,892,697 which deals with the processing of floating point numbers. The TL;dr version is the judge dis-allowed the patent because mathematical algorithms cannot be patented under US Patent law.

"We salute Red Hat for its outstanding defense and for standing firm with its customers in defeating this patent troll," Alan Schoenbaum, Rackspace General Counsel wrote in a statement. "We hope that many more of these spurious software patent lawsuits will be dismissed on similar grounds."

Rob Tiller, Red Hat’s Assistant General Counsel for IP, said:

"NPE patent lawsuits are a chronic and serious problem for the technology industry. Such lawsuits, which are frequently based on patents that should never have been granted, typically cost millions of dollars to defend. These suits are a plague on innovation, economic growth, and job creation. Courts can help address this problem by determining the validity of patents early and with appropriate care. In this case, Judge Davis did just that, and set a great example for future cases."

This is what indemnification is all about folks. Red Hat said 9 years ago that it would protect its customers against patent trolls (at the time they were worried about SCO).

Here we are in 2013, SCO is a zombie, trolls still walk the East Texas courtrooms and the Open Source Assurance model works as promised.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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