“Some businesses, such as pharmaceuticals, still spend enormous amounts of time and money on intellectual property (IP) fights,” reports ZDNet. But “thanks to the Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, Linux and related open-source technologies have become mostly free of these expensive entanglements.”
And now they’re reporting that the OIN’s membership has grown to over 3,000 licensees:
OIN’s mission is to enable Linux, its related software, and its programmers to develop and monetize without being hogtied by patent fights. In Linux’s early years, this was a constant threat. Now, thanks largely to the OIN’s efforts to get everyone to agree on the basic open-source principle — that’s it’s better and more profitable to share than to cling to proprietary property — open-source software has taken off in the marketplace… The OIN, which has grown by 50% in the last two years, has turned patent non-aggression into policy for thousands of companies. By agreeing to the OIN license, members gain access to patented inventions worth hundreds of millions of dollars while promoting a favorable environment for Linux and related open source software.
The license works by everyone agreeing to patent non-aggression in core open-source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. OIN-owned patents are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. While it started out just covering the Linux operating system the Linux System has evolved to address Linux and adjacent Linux-related open-source technologies. It now covers open-source programs covering mobile communications, mobile payments, computing, blockchain, cloud, Internet of Things, and embedded and automotive technologies.
“For innovation and invention, open source and Linux are unmatched in the modern world. The open-source community’s success is powered by the fact that shared innovation acts as a force multiplier — where one plus one equals orders of magnitude more than two,” said Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO. “OIN’s remarkable growth has been driven by heightened recognition of the importance of open source and a broad-based recognition of patent non-aggression as a cultural norm in the Linux and greater open source community. Joining OIN is viewed by many as a litmus test of authenticity in the open-source community.”
The Linux Foundation’s executive director says their group’s success “has been directly enabled by the patent risk mitigation platform that the OIN has provided.
“Absent the now 3,000 strong member community of patent non-aggression that Keith Bergelt and his team at OIN have painstakingly built over the last dozen or so years, the level of open-source software innovation and unprecedented adoption rates could simply not have been achieved.”