Microsoft Joins Open Source Consortium
What wasn't considered unthinkable too long ago has now happened: Microsoft joins the Open Invention Network (OIN), a patent consortium that provides protection against patent attacks on Linux or other open source programs. According to the announcement by Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief Deputy General Counsel, the software company will make around 60,000 of its own patents available to the OIN community as part of a royalty-free and unrestricted license.
With over 2,500 members, including IBM Red Hat, Suse and Google, the OIN Consortium holds more than 1,300 patents, which are available to all members free of charge. Founded in 2005, the consortium aims to collect as many Linux-relevant software patents as possible to protect members from patent attacks.
The patents now introduced by Microsoft relate both, to older open source technologies such as Android, the Linux Kernel and Open Stack, as well as to newer technologies such as LF Energy and Hyperledger as well as their predecessors and successor versions. The patents for Windows and desktop software, on the other hand, are excluded.