Linux software developer Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is adding two lawyers to its intellectual property team.

Whether the moves are in reaction to disputes with Microsoft over the latter’s allegations of patent infringement is not clear, reported InformationWeek.

Robert Tiller, a former member of the Helms, Mulliss & Wicker firm, joins Red Hat has vice president and assistant general counsel. Tiller has more than 20 years of legal experience. A graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, he has focused on intellectual property and technology litigation as well as commercial litigation and antitrust.

Richard Fontana joins Red Hat as open source licensing and patent counsel. He worked most recently as counsel for the Software Freedom Law Center. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

"We are helping pave the way for open standards and changes in the IP regime needed for the future," Tiller told InformationWeek via e-mail. "We feel a responsibility to lead these efforts and to encourage projects that support open, multi-vendor standards," he wrote in an email response.

Both the attorneys will report to Michael Cunningham, Red Hat’s executive vice president and general counsel.