Open Invention Network (OIN), a non-aggression patent community, announced an expansion in its patent non-aggression coverage by updating the freedom of action in a Linux System, last week. Patents provide organizations and individuals with the right to the invention and the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention.
This Linux System expansion enables “OIN to keep pace with open source innovation, promoting patent non-aggression in the core. As open source grows, we will continue to protect Linux and adjacent technologies through strategic software package additions to the Linux System” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. The recent expansion comprises 151 new packages, bringing the total number of protected packages to 2,873. “While the majority of the new additions are widely used and found in most devices. The update includes a number of key open source innovations such as Kubernetes, Apache Cassandra and packages for Automotive Grade Linux” said Boehm
Open Invention Network was introduced by Mr. Mirko Boehm, OIN’s director for the Linux System definition to develop a non-aggression pact between companies (especially within the field of the Linux system definition). OIN practices cross-licensing of patents for the Linux system on a royalty-free basis. This zone of cross-licensing is called OIN’s Linux System, which comprises a list of fundamental Linux software packages. Patents owned by OIN are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees to not assert its patents against the Linux System.
Open Invention Network focuses on changing the current patent system in core Linux and other open source technologies as it is being abused by a lot of organizations, deteriorating innovation significantly. These non-aggression pacts or defensive patent tools by OIN help protect the signatories against the aggressive use of patents. A report by Dr. E. Altsitsiadis, for OpenForum Academy (OFA) stresses on these issues in the current patent system, as it mentions, that companies whose business model consists of buying up patents with a goal of taking anyone who infringes them to court have grown exponentially. Technology giants are engaged in massive legal battles. This leads to public resources getting held up in expensive lawsuits, as well as it poses a significant barrier to smaller innovators who don’t always have the capacity to cover these legal costs.
Just last month, Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network, making 60,000 of its patents accessible to fellow members, to embrace the open source software and open source culture. “With this update to the Linux System definition, OIN continues with its well-established process of carefully maintaining a balance between stability and innovative core open source technology,” stated Boehm.
For more information, check out the official OIN press release.