Microsoft makes 60,000 patents available to Linux patent group

Oct

10

2018

Microsoft joins the Open Invention Network, a consortium of companies that share patents to protect open source software, especially Linux, from claims. In the past, Microsoft filed such claims against Linux and Android.

Upon joining , Microsoft licenses on a portfolio of sixty thousand patents will be royalty-free and unlimited available to the other members of the Open Invention Network, including Google, IBM, SUSE and Philips. The members of the OIN grant mutual licenses for Linux technology and promise not to sue each other with patent claims in this area.

According to Keith Bergelt, director of the Open Invention Network, it concerns all patents related to older open source technology, including techniques related to Android, the Linux kernel and OpenStack. Patents on newer technology, such as HyperLedger, are also covered.

Erich Andersen, Microsoft’s top man in the field of intellectual property, acknowledges to ZDNet that the move is likely to come unexpectedly for many. “It is no secret that there has been friction between Microsoft and the open source community about patents.” Steve Ballmer in particular used to know in the past that Linux uses Microsoft’s intellectual property and is likely to infringe patents, which could lead to claims . In 2011, Microsoft toured Android device manufacturers, including HTC, Samsung and Huawei, to monetize patents on that operating system. That gave the company billions of dollars.

Since then much has changed at the software giant. The company is now a paying member of The Linux Foundation, recently joined the LOT Network, which protects developers from patent trolling and has created various proprietary open source products, such as .Net Server Core , Entity Framework and Visual Studio Code .

“We believe that the protection that OIN offers to the open source community helps to contribute to and adopt open source technology,” Andersen reports. “We are honored to stand next to the OIN for the purpose of protecting Linux and other major open source software against patent aggression.”

Microsoft loves Linux

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