Red Hat announces patent U-turn

Organiser of anti-software patent petition starts patenting software "reluctantly"...

Organiser of anti-software patent petition starts patenting software "reluctantly"...

Linux vendor Red Hat is to start applying for software patents to protect its business, despite its long-standing objection to the patenting of software. In a statement on the Red Hat website posted today, the company initially re-states its opposition to the practice of software patenting. It says software patents impede technical innovation and are antithetical to the open source movement. However, it goes on to say: "At the same time, we are forced to live in the world as it is, and that world currently permits software patents. A relatively small number of very large companies have amassed large numbers of software patents. We believe such massive software patent portfolios are ripe for misuse because of the questionable nature of many software patents generally and because of the high cost of patent litigation. "One defence against such misuse is to develop a corresponding portfolio of software patents for defensive purposes... In the interests of our company and in an attempt to protect and promote the open source community, Red Hat has elected to adopt this same stance. We do so reluctantly..." Red Hat has previously signed a petition urging the European Union to outlaw the granting of such patents. Many companies, especially in the open source arena believe the patenting system can be used by big companies to stifle a competitive market.