Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Microsoft joins Open Invention Network and open sources its patent portfolio

Report: Microsoft making patents royalty-free for Android OEMs Microsoft just open-sourced 60,000 of its patents
Sherri Watson | 11 October, 2018, 23:04

OIN works by providing patent cross-licenses between companies that have joined it, these covering Linux tech.

A month shy of its 14th birthday, the Open Invention Network (OIN) was obviously very happy to welcome the beast of Redmond, and 60,000 or so of its patents, into the group, which consists of almost 2,700 companies and includes the likes of Google and IBM. We are honored to stand with OIN as an active participant in its program to protect against patent aggression in core Linux and other important OSS technologies.

OIN gets thousands of new patents from Microsoft, and Microsoft is helping the open-source community that it once claimed was the cancer of the software industry.

With Microsoft's contribution of 60,000 patents, the OIN has seen its patent library multiple nearly 50 times over.

"Microsoft sees open source as a key innovation engine, and for the past several years we have increased our involvement in, and contributions to, the open source community", said Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, Microsoft. For a time, the software giant used its patent portfolio to assert that Google's Android OS, a Linux-based operating system, actually used Microsoft technologies.

Microsoft has made billions from its extensive library of software patents.

Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation offers his thoughts below. "We hope this announcement will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to customers and developers", he added.

The Open Invention Network is a group of about 2,400 companies around the world that have agreed to cross-license their patents on a royalty-free basis for use by the "Linux System", a collection of projects including the Linux kernel, many tools and utilities built on top of Linux, and large parts of Android.