Red Hat wins patent court fight

From staff reportsApril 30, 2010 

Red Hat has won a legal fight with a small Texas company that claimed the Raleigh-based software maker infringed on its patents.

IP Innovation sued Red Hat and another software company Novell over technology that involves sharing icons across computer workstations, Bloomberg News reported.

But this afternoon, a jury in federal court in Marshall, Texas, agreed with Red Hat and Novell that the patents were invalid. Both companies sell the Linux computer operating software. The so-called open source software is a cheaper competitor to Microsoft's Windows.

IP Innovation sought royalties on all sales of Linux-based products. Red Hat reported last month that its 2009 revenue totaled $748.2 million, up 15 percent from a year earlier.

"The jury knocked out three invalid patents that were masquerading as new and important inventions, when they were not," said Red Hat's executive vice president Michael Cunningham, in a prepared statement. "We appreciate the jury's wisdom."

Red Hat shares closed today at $29.87, down 91 cents. The stock rose above $30 in after-hours trading.

The shares are up 73 percent in the past year.

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