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OIN Gets More Patents to Protect Linux Environment
Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 10:42 AM EDT

Here's an important development. The Open Invention Network has bought some new patents, with the express purpose of protecting Linux. Here they are:
* No. 5,764,989 - Interactive Software Development System
* No. 5,848,274 - Incremental Byte Code Compilation System
* No. 6,067,413 - Data Representation for Mixed-Language Program Development

Anyone can license them royalty-free, so long as they agree not to assert patents against "the Linux environment." These three are added to the 39 valuable web services patents that OIN got from Commerce One last December, and there are two more patents announced that have issued from that purchase:

* No. 6,993,506 for a "Method and Device Utilizing Polymorphic Date in E-Commerce" and
* No. 7,036,072 for a "Method and Apparatus for Declarative Updating of Self-Describing, Structured Documents."

And, I personally might add that in addition to being available for royalty-free license, these patents are available for a rainy day, should anyone get any funny ideas about using the courts to try to destroy one's main competition with patent infringement lawsuits. Not that anyone would stoop that low, of course. But just saying.

Here's the press release.

**************************

Open Invention Network Acquires New Patents to Protect Linux

E-Commerce and Internet-related Patents Offered Royalty-free to Licensees

New York (May 23, 2006) - Open Invention Network (OIN), the company formed by IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony, unveiled today some of the new patents it has acquired in order to protect the Linux environment. The new e-commerce and Internet-related software patents will be offered royalty-free, along with OIN's existing intellectual property portfolio, to its licensees.

Open Invention Network promotes a positive, fertile ecosystem for Linux, which in turn drives innovation and choice in the global marketplace. This helps ensure the continuation of innovation that has benefited software vendors, customers, emerging markets and investors.

"The new set of patents OIN has obtained is part of our ongoing patent acquisition strategy, and will significantly increase our contribution to protecting the Linux environment," said Jerry Rosenthal, chief executive officer at Open Invention Network. "We are seeking to acquire intellectual property that will protect the Linux environment today and years into the future. Our licensees benefit because our patents are available on a royalty-free basis to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux environment. Adding new OIN patents and licensees expands the size and strength of the Linux ecosystem."

The added set of OIN patents include:

* No. 5,764,989 - Interactive Software Development System
* No. 5,848,274 - Incremental Byte Code Compilation System
* No. 6,067,413 - Data Representation for Mixed-Language Program Development

Among the company's initial patent holdings is a set of business-to-business electronic commerce patents, once held by Commerce One. OIN is also pleased to announce the issuance of patents No. 6,993,506 for a "Method and Device Utilizing Polymorphic Date in E-Commerce" and No. 7,036,072 for a "Method and Apparatus for Declarative Updating of Self-Describing, Structured Documents." These patents were recently issued from some of the patent applications acquired by OIN as part of the business-to-business electronic commerce patent portfolio once held by Commerce One.

About Open Invention Network

Open Invention Network is an intellectual property company formed to further the Linux environment by acquiring patents and ensuring their availability. It promotes a positive, fertile ecosystem for Linux, which in turn drives innovation and choice in the global marketplace. Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005, with significant financial support from IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony. For more information go to www.openinventionnetwork.com.


  


OIN Gets More Patents to Protect Linux Environment | 108 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections Here
Authored by: entre on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 10:59 AM EDT
For PJ

[ Reply to This | # ]

Off Topic
Authored by: Griffin3 on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 11:02 AM EDT
For all those topics that are just a little bit 'off'.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OIN Gets More Patents to Protect Linux Environment
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 11:06 AM EDT

Anyone can license them royalty-free, so long as they agree not to assert patents against "the Linux environment."

So, does this come as a hammer in the Linux/FreeBSD, et al, wars? Can Linux companies license these patents, but assert patents against other Open Source OSen, then? (Serious question...)

[ Reply to This | # ]

Oh, great, the gun argument.
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 11:13 AM EDT
The bad guys have guns, so we need MORE guns. Guns are great, so long as
everyone has them!

Guns are not great.
Software patents are not great.

Guns are the problem.
Software patents ARE THE PROBLEM.

And it's very, very hard to argue against either when you're packing them.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Is OIN useful to a small software entrepreneur?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 11:36 AM EDT
I am a founder of a privetly owned company. We have used GPL works and will be
selling the derivatives in the near future.

We are a handful of people with little money for patent overhead. I do know
however, for being in a number of large companies, that we could issue a dozen
patents. To give some context: I have been trained twice by corporate lawyers on
overcoming patent office objections and getting the questionable invention
through. As a matter of fact, I have 10 inventions to my name already, although
none of them have much merit (there was a cash incentive for getting a filing
and a grant).

Stallman and Moglen's views sank in since then.

As an entrepreneur, I have two big worries.

1) Selling software to a big client to turns around and pretends he owns it. The
GPL looks like a good defense here, alhough I have to sell the first GPL'ed
version for high enough that it recovers my costs.

2) Someone patenting something I have done 2 years ago. The cost of defending
myself would be prohobitive. I don't have a solution here at the present time.

I should mention that I will avoid venture capital at all costs.

So:
1 - Is "The linux environment" basically GNU covered code?
2 - Getting patents is actually pretty easy for me so long as someone covers the
legal costs. I wouldn't mind getting patents that I donate to GNU or some
like-entity. Is OIN the best venue? (If not, it is kind of useless for small
entrepreneurs).

If that discussion belongs elsewhere, please let me know.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patent troll company?
Authored by: Burger on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 12:15 PM EDT
What makes OIN not a patent troll company?

Yes, I know the good purpose of OIN

[ Reply to This | # ]

Patents Cold War
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 01:00 PM EDT
So are we going for the Cold War ?
Who will be first to push the button ?

Whilst it's legal to go for the cold war, maybe we as a community shouldn't play
by that rules ?

When the bad guys start to show inequivocal evidence that they're losing ground
they start playing dirty. (think DRMed processors, retaining hostage users,
utilising weapons of mass dumbification)

oh wait, they are doing that (FlexGo) and that for sure we won't do.

I'm tending to think the cold and dirty wars have to be fought differently.

The question is how ?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Incremental Byte Code Compilation System
Authored by: gbl on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 01:28 PM EDT
There are so many prior examples of incremental byte code compilation systems that I'm amazed that this didn't get thown out at first glance. Just about every Basic on early PCs used the technique and even today Perl can dynamically compile to byte code as requested and then run the result.

---
If you love some code, set it free.

[ Reply to This | # ]

What's the plan with OIN at Philips and Sony?
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 01:56 PM EDT

The list of covered applications pretty much covers Red Hat and SuSE Linux distributions as a whole. That explains why they're in. I can see IBM joining in as well. They want a free ecosystem for GNU/Linux, and they're not agressively licensing their patents anymore.

But what about the other two? Philips and Sony invented large scale patent licensing with Compact Disc. Especially Philips is collecting money in a big way (almost half a billion Euro last year, according to their annual report). Why are free Linux distributions so important to them? They hardly use it.

Basically the only threat to GNU/Linux is Microsoft, and Philips and Sony were planning legal action against them. Is OIN a clever way to get some support from the big guns at IBM?

[ Reply to This | # ]

Sony and Philips are very good at this game
Authored by: Anonymous on Tuesday, May 23 2006 @ 03:09 PM EDT
Sony and Philips bought Intertrust who then won a $440 million settlement from Microsoft are very good at this patent game.

I'd be a bit worried about what would happen if someone decides to buy OIN, though. Could they decide to stop licensing the patents to F/OSS developers? If Linux ends up depending on some of these patents (though it seems that'd violate the GPL anyway, wouldn't it), it'd be the quickest way to kill it.

[ Reply to This | # ]

OIN Gets More Patents to Protect Linux Environment
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, May 24 2006 @ 09:55 AM EDT
"Not that anyone would stoop that low, of course. But just saying."

do you really think there is a company that would stoop that low? nah!

[ Reply to This | # ]

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