Novell and Red Hat sued for patent infringement

Novell and Red Hat are being sued for alleged Linux patent infringement according to documents filed with a Texas court last week.

The plaintiffs, IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corporation, who administer intellectual property (IP) licences and information claim three US patents within the Linux operating system have been infringed upon by Red Hat and Novell's own Linux distribution versions.

Both IP firms claim to own patent number 5,072,412 for a "User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects", as well as similar patent numbers 5,533,183 and 5,394,521 issued between late 1991 and early 1995.

The lawsuit accuses Red Hat of infringing on the patents by selling the Red Hat Linux system. And Novell has been targeted for the Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and the Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

It also contends that the both vendors had previously been notified of the infringement but that, in continuing to distribute these products, they are deliberately and wilfully infringing on the patents.

The suit calls for an injunction to stop both vendors from continuing to infringe on the patents as well as unspecified damages and any "other relief that the court or a jury may deem just and proper".

Lawyers for the two IP firms could not be reached and neither vendor had issued any official comment at time of writing.

But Novell has been reported as saying that it will examine the claims made by the lawsuit with a view to defending its interests in court.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.