Red Hat tells Supremes: software patents stifle innovation

2 10 2009

Red Hat has filed an amicus curiae brief in a major Supreme Court case. In the brief, Red Hat makes a strong case against software patents, arguing that the legal reasoning that led to software patents was flawed and that the pending Bilski case provides the Supreme Court with an important opportunity to rectify this long-standing problem with the patent system.

The Bilski case, which we have been following closely during its ascent through the courts, is a dispute that specifically relates to patents on methods for commodities trading. The case has raised new questions about the legitimacy of business methods patents and the basis on which such patents are granted. The outcome of the case could have a particularly significant impact on the software industry if the Supreme Court uses Bilski to redefine the boundaries of patentability in a way that excludes software.

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