Red Hat Hires Legal Heavyweights

Lora Bentley

Red Hat is adding intellectual property and free software specialists to its legal team. InformationWeek reports former Software Freedom Law Center attorney Richard Fontana and IP attorney Robert Tiller have joined Red Hat's ranks.


Tiller, formerly of the North Carolina law firm of Helms, Mulliss & Wicker, is now the Linux distributor's vice president and assistant general counsel for intellectual property. He will oversee the intellectual property team, the story says, which covers patent, trademark, copyright and software licensing issues.


Fontana comes on as Red Hat's "open source licensing and patent counsel."


Of the decision to expand the legal department, Tiller says:

We are helping pave the way for open standards and changes in the IP regime needed for the future. We feel a responsibility to lead these efforts and to encourage projects that support open, multi-vendor standards.

The story says Red Hat representatives would not comment on whether the hires were motivated by patent infringement claims made by Microsoft last year.

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