RedHat settles its patent infringement lawsuit filed by Firestar Software and DataTern in Federal Court for an undisclosed amount. Part of the settlement that RedHat made was made on behalf of the Open Source Community--indemnifying users and its customers from future infringement suits by said parties.
RedHat's corporate opinion is that software patents spoil innovation and hinder new developments. Their opininon has not kept them out of the courtroom for patent infringement suits however. They are currently still involved in a patent suit with IP Innovations over 3 of its user interface patents.
Patent infringement is serious business and can reel in some major money for the damaged party's often near-empty coffers. I hate lawsuits and if a person or company has been truly damaged by an infringement; they are certainly due compensation for those damages. Many times, however, such lawsuits (and lawsuits in general) are usually just a desperate attempt at filling those coffers with ill-gotten gain.
If it were truly the principle of the thing or to truly seek justice, lawsuits would be aimed at whomever violated the patents, copyrights, or whatever--not just aimed at those with deep pockets. The fact that such suits are always aimed at deep-pocketed companies like RedHat, IBM, and Novell informs me otherwise. For once, I'd like to see some lawsuits launched against a non-profit organization that has no money just to send a message to offenders and not for any monetary gain.
I'll be here holding my breath till it happens.