Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and several other technology firms have weighed into a Supreme Court battle over a lower court ruling that they believe “threatens to expand patent litigation.”

The “friend of the court” brief argues that parties with direct knowledge of a “specific patent at issue and covers the alleged infringing activity” are liable.

Yahoo, eBay, Electronic Arts, Symantec, McAfee, HP and General Motors also joined in the brief.

Red Hat, the world’s top developer and services provider for open source Linux software, has fought strongly against the issue of software patents.

The case stems from a federal court ruling that “deliberate indifference” could be used as an “inducement liability.”

“The serious problem of bad software patents is exacerbated by the Federal Circuit’s decision,” said Red Hat General Counsel Rob Tiller in a statement. “Holding technology innovators liable for inducing infringement of patents of which they have no actual knowledge raises the already substantial risks of innovation, and is counter to the public interest. The Supreme Court’s willingness to address this issue is encouraging, and its decision could be a meaningful step to improve this important part of the patent system.”

The case is expected to be heard next spring.

Read the brief here.

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