The news today is that Facebook and HP have joinded Open Invention Network. In addition, Google is moving up from licensee to join Canonical as associate member, the second highest level.
SCO is over as a threat, but there is now a focus on mobile, according to Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN, particularly Android:
Mobile patents in general will be an area of focus, with the Open Invention Network supporting the likes of MeeGo and webOS. OIN is "agnostic as to which platforms ultimately succeed," but given the current market leadership of Android it makes sense to put a special focus on Google's Linux-based mobile operating system. Makers of Android devices have faced IP lawsuits from Oracle and Microsoft.
I want to show you the list of new members. There are seventy-four of them. And if you sell or use Linux in your business, or build hardware that runs Linux, this is the list where you want to be too, in my view.
"Because [Android] is the most significant in terms of market share, we'd like to ensure that it sustains itself," Bergelt said.
Although the Open Invention Network was founded by some of the biggest vendors in the tech industry, it has long focused on small companies that might not otherwise have the resources to protect themselves from lawsuits. But with its latest membership drive, OIN is shifting the focus to the industry's big fish. Facebook, for example, is a heavy user of Linux in its data centers. Over time, Bergelt predicted that companies like IBM and HP will shift their patent strategy, filing fewer patent applications but focusing on ones that cover fundamental inventions and can be used as defense against lawsuits.
What does all this mean?
Microsoft hasn't pursued its claim that Linux and open source software violate 235 Microsoft patents, but "behind the scenes, they're still very active," Bergelt said. If Windows desktop market share ever erodes, Microsoft could become more lawsuit-happy.
"They will continue to represent a potential source of antagonism toward Linux," he said. Here's the press release:
But Microsoft is not the only company that potentially threatens Linux, according to Bergelt. "It's really just anybody who supports proprietary platforms and has a large [patent] portfolio that it likes to continue to use to be able to discourage choice," he said. "There will always be those who will be looking at Linux potentially threatening their livelihood, their way of life."
OIN Momentum Continues in the First Quarter as Over 70 New Licensees Join the OIN Community in Support of Linux
Leading Technology Companies Sign OIN License
Durham, NC (April 20, 2011) Ė Open Invention Network (OIN) announced today a substantial increase in the size of its community of licensees during the first quarter of 2011. OIN intends to continue to sign up additional Linux user community and select technology companies to expand the community of companies covered under OINís royalty free license. In the first quarter, OIN experienced 28% growth in its community of licensees, boosting the community to 334 corporate supporters. OIN licensees, which include founding members and associate members, benefit from leverage against patent aggression and access to enabling technologies through OINís shared intellectual property resources.
"Sophisticates within technology companies and the greater open source community have come to recognize the value of joining OINís licensee community," said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. "During the first quarter, OIN welcomed companies such as Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Juniper, Fujitsu General, and others. Weíve also successfully licensed a number of the leading Linux distributions in the first quarter. Finally, we greatly appreciate the large number of activist individuals who signed an OIN license in the quarter."
During the first quarter of 2011, the list of new corporate OIN licensees affirming their support for Linux and freedom of action included the following:
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 investments in Linux Ė helping to fuel economic growth. By broadly licensing its rapidly expanding patent portfolio, OIN is disseminating protections across the Linux community and promoting an active dialogue among entities committed to freedom of action in Linux. The web of Linux developers, distributors, sellers, resellers and end-users that license OINís patent portfolio acknowledge and affirm OINís commitment to enable Linux and address the ongoing threat from companies that support proprietary platforms to the exclusion of open source initiatives, and whose behaviors reflect a disdain for innovation.
2. AnNyung Linux
4. Arrival Telecom, Inc.
5. BackTrack Linux
7. CANtronik Ltd.
9. Collabora Ltd
10. Crazy Cow
12. David Ayers e.U.
14. eOffice(R) Brands and license
16. Facebook, Inc.
17. Fen Systems Ltd
18. Fin.Eng Consultancy Ltd
19. Forbrich Computer Consulting Ltd.
20. Foswiki Foundation
21. Fujitsu General Limited
23. gnuArtist Linu
25. Hellested LLC
26. Hewlett-Packard Company
27. The Hyde Company
28. IBEX ITS
29. Intranet Engineering GmbH
30. Juniper Networks, Inc.
31. KEH, Inc.
32. Kororaa/Make The Move
34. Linutronix GmbH
35. Linux KDuXP
36. M2X BV
37. Mandriva SA
38. MBDSYS S.A.R.L.
39. Microquest LLC
40. Muli Management/Ngipi Pty Ltd
41. Mullikins, LLC
42. Nexenta Systems, Inc.
43. NFA.ny Sdn. Bhd.
44. Omnibond Systems LLC
45. OMNISOURCE S.r.l.
46. OpenStack, LLC
49. PolTec Electronics, LLC
50. Protocol Freedom Information Foundation
51. QRW Software
52. Rackspace Hosting, Inc.
53. Redline Phone, Inc.
54. Serious Cybernetics
55. The Shadowserver Foundation
56. Smart Energy Instruments, Inc.
58. Superuser Korea (SU
60. Symantec Corp.
61. Sync Corp.
62. TAS OS
63. Tin Hat Linux
65. Ubuntu Rescue Remix
67. la Universidad de La Lagun
70. Waves of the Future
71. Whizman, Inc.
72. Wingspan Technology Inc.
73. YOU Technology, Inc.
74. ZHAI XIN TECHNOLOGIES, INC. (0xLab)
OIN has amassed a broad portfolio of patents, including patents held by nominees on its behalf. These patents are available to all licensees as part of the patent portfolio that OIN is creating around and in support of Linux. Its license agreement can be found at http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_license_agreement.php.
About Open Invention Network
Open Invention Network is a collaborative enterprise that enables innovation in open source and an increasingly vibrant ecosystem around Linux. It does this by acquiring and licensing patents, influencing behaviors and policy and protecting the integrity of the ecosystem through strategic programs such as Linux Defenders. OIN 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 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony. OIN has received supplemental financial support from Canonical. For more information, visit 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.