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Open Invention Network Extends The Linux Ecosystem As TomTom Becomes Licensee
Monday, March 23 2009 @ 08:11 AM EDT

I wanted to highlight this press release, instead of just putting it in News Picks, to make sure you see it and understand the significance of it. It's a press release from Open Invention Network, the Linux Defenders 911 folks, and they announced today that TomTom is now a licensee. That means it comes under the protection of OIN, it makes all its patents available royalty-free to anyone else in the OIN network or who agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System:
OIN has accumulated more than 275 strategic, worldwide patents and patent applications. These patents are available to all licensees as part of the patent portfolio that OIN is creating around, and in support of Linux.
I'd say the Microsoft/TomTom battle just got bigger, and TomTom is in a stronger position than it was, although TomTom itself has a number of patents of its own, including reportedly a number it purchased in 2007 for just such a moment as this, according to GPS:
Over the years TomTom has built up a strong IP portfolio of navigation patents both through acquisitions and its own research activity. Because TomTom came rather late to the navigation space, when it started facing lawsuits (against Garmin) the Dutch company was in need of early, broad patents for cross licensing situations. Some of these were bought from Horizon navigation in June 2007 for $29 million. Within the patent set named in this litigation two were bought from Visteon and the two others from Horizon Navigation.
That article opines that this will all end in a settlement, but I doubt it, since the GPL makes it impossible to pay any royalties for patents on GPL'd code. That doesn't mean no resolution is possible, as Red Hat showed the way to do that without violating the GPL. I doubt that Microsoft would be willing to do a deal like that, though, since it would make its FAT patents and all the rest it is aiming at TomTom available to one and all (in the Linux world) forever more royalty-free.

Remember to report any prior art on the FAT patents to Linux Defenders 911. Here is the press release:

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

Open Invention Network Extends The Linux Ecosystem As TomTom Becomes Licensee

Open Invention Network™ (OIN), the company formed to enable and protect Linux, today extended the Linux ecosystem with the signing of TomTom as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, TomTom has joined the growing list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

Durham, NC (PRWEB) March 23, 2009 -- Open Invention Network (OIN), the company formed to enable and protect Linux, today extended the Linux ecosystem with the signing of TomTom as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, TomTom has joined the growing list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. This enables companies to continue to make significant corporate and capital expenditure investments in Linux - helping to fuel economic growth. By developing a web of Linux developers, distributors, sellers, resellers and end-users that license its patent portfolio, Open Invention Network is creating a supportive and shielded ecosystem to ensure the growth and adoption of Linux.

"As we look to enable the Linux Ecosystem, we are pleased to have TomTom become a licensee," said Keith Bergelt, chief executive officer of Open Invention Network. "TomTom is one of a growing number of companies, of all sizes, that value the openness and collaborative culture of the Linux community. We applaud their support for Linux."

"Linux plays an important role at TomTom as the core of all our Portable Navigation Devices," said Peter Spours, director of IP at TomTom. "We believe that by becoming an Open Invention Network licensee, we encourage Linux development and foster innovation in a technical community that benefits everyone."

OIN has accumulated more than 275 strategic, worldwide patents and patent applications. These patents are available to all licensees as part of the patent portfolio that OIN is creating around, and in support of Linux. This makes it economically attractive for companies that want to repackage, embed and use Linux to host specialized services or create complementary products. Additionally, it helps ensure the continuation of innovation that has benefited software vendors, customers, emerging markets and investors.

The Open Invention Network license agreement can be found at http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_license_agreement.php. About Open Invention Network Open Invention NetworkSM is a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux by acquiring and licensing patents, influencing behaviors and policy, and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem. It enables the growth and continuation of open source software by fostering a healthy Linux ecosystem of investors, vendors, developers and users. Open Invention Network has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005, and has received investments from IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. For more information, go to www.openinventionnetwork.com. Open Invention Network, the Open Invention Network logo, Linux Defenders, Linux Defenders 911 and the Linux Defenders 911 logo are the property of Open Invention Network, LLC. All other names and brand marks are the property of their respective holders.


  


Open Invention Network Extends The Linux Ecosystem As TomTom Becomes Licensee | 72 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Corrections thread
Authored by: gjleger on Monday, March 23 2009 @ 08:18 AM EDT
Place corrections to the article within this thread. Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

[NP] News Picks discussion
Authored by: gjleger on Monday, March 23 2009 @ 08:19 AM EDT
Discuss Groklaw News Picks here.

Please mention which News Pick you are commenting on.

Thanks.

[ Reply to This | # ]

[OT] The Off Topic thread
Authored by: gjleger on Monday, March 23 2009 @ 08:20 AM EDT
Place Off Topic comments here.

Use clickable links (see text in red beneath the Comment: box).


Yeah! Triple play !

[ Reply to This | # ]

Open Invention Network Extends The Linux Ecosystem As TomTom Becomes Licensee
Authored by: IMANAL_TOO on Monday, March 23 2009 @ 08:39 AM EDT
OIN appears potent, with members like IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony!

The patent portfolio looks impressive too, with 60 unique patents.

If I understood it correctly, the paragraph
These patents are available to all licensees as part of the patent portfolio that OIN is creating around, and in support of Linux.
means that TomTom will not be able to get protection from all patent claims made by Microsoft. Only those relating to Linux. Is that correct?

Otherwise, this network may become really big, really fast, which probably would be a good thing.





---
______
IMANAL


.

[ Reply to This | # ]

Ok, What prevents MS from ...
Authored by: hAckz0r on Monday, March 23 2009 @ 02:28 PM EDT
What prevents MS from just transfering/selling their own patents to a shill
patent-troll company and letting them sue the pants off of everyone? If the
shill/troll doesn't use any OIN patents then what pressure or harm can OIN do to
them? After all its not illegal to sell patents, and MS could easily make it a
condition of sale to not enforce its own patents against MS itself.


---
DRM - As a "solution", it solves the wrong problem; As a "technology" its only
'logically' infeasible.

[ Reply to This | # ]

pardon my cluelessness, but how this helps?
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, March 25 2009 @ 05:23 AM EDT
I don't understand why would the FAT patents need to be made available to anyone
(in the linux world). (i don't think those patents are valid, but that is a
different question).

Lets assume, the FAT patents are valid. They are completely unrelated to GPS.
TomTom could pick any other filesystem and their .
If the FAT patents were valid, they would threaten anyone, the GPL cannot defend
you from it. The only thing the GPL does is to make it an all or nothing game.
So, M$ couldn't selectively grant FAT patent license to TomTom (as long as
TomTom uses it in a GPL touched code). But how would this help TomTom, or
Linux?

[ Reply to This | # ]

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