At Red Hat, “patent trolls” are as big an enemy as Microsoft, and the Hatters have fought trolling all the way to the Supreme Court.

So when a judge in Texas declared Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) and Rackspace victors in a lawsuit brought by Uniloc USA this week, Red Hat hailed the victory.

Uniloc is a so-called non-practicing entity, or NPE (another bad word at Red Hat) or patent troll, a company that has secured patents and uses them in search of cash. Uniloc also has in the past sued Adobe, Microsoft and others.

Rob Tiller, assistant general counsel for intellectual property at Red Hat, didn’t mince words in his response to the court’s decision.

“NPE patent lawsuits are a chronic and serious problem for the technology industry,” Tiller said.

“Such lawsuits, which are frequently based on patents that should never have been granted, typically cost millions of dollars to defend. These suits are a plague on innovation, economic growth, and job creation. Courts can help address this problem by determining the validity of patents early and with appropriate care. In this case, Judge Davis did just that, and set a great example for future cases.” 

Red Hat supplied the legal defense for Rackspace through its Open Source Assurance program, which is designed to boost confidence in open source development. 

Uniloc sued over use of a mathematical formula that it said violated a patent the firm holds. The case was filed last June.

However, the judge in the case dismissed it, citing a Supreme Court decision that mathematical formulas are “unpatentable.”

“This is a major victory for open source software,” said Michael Cunningham, general counsel at Red Hat. “We are gratified to have beaten another patent for open source and for our customer. We also believe that the thoughtful dismissal by Chief Judge Davis on a 12(b)(6) motion will encourage earlier decisions by other courts on invalid software patents, reducing vexatious litigation by non-producing entities and their corrosive effect on innovation.”