Open Invention Network, Microsoft, Linux Foundation Continue Open Source Partnership Against Patent Trolls

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Over the past four years, the OS Zone has successfully challenged over 54 PAE patents that posed threats to OSS technologies.

The Open Invention Network (OIN), The Linux Foundation, and Microsoft will continue their collaboration in the Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone (OS Zone) for the fifth consecutive year, to protect open-source software (OSS) from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), commonly known as patent trolls. 

The funding for the OS Zone is supported by additional companies, including Amazon, Apple, CableLabs, Mercedes-Benz, Meta, ServiceNow, and Twilio.

The collaboration limits the ability of PAEs to exploit low-quality patents and engage in costly litigation against OSS projects. It emphasises the importance of protecting open-source innovation to drive technological advancements and community collaboration.

“We are also pleased to welcome new companies that are providing financial support to continue funding the OS Zone’s operations. More needs to be done, however, because the stakes are becoming higher as better funded PAEs are placing acute focus on critical OSS projects,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network.

Over the past four years, the OS Zone has successfully challenged over 54 PAE patents that posed threats to OSS technologies. Various open-source technologies and projects have been safeguarded, including Apache (Cocoon and mod_evasive), Argo, Bluez, Fail2Ban, FreeMesh & LibreMesh, iFolder, LibVLC, Linkerd, Linux & automotive Linux, Kubernetes, KVM, Magento, Mastodon, Mozilla Firefox, Mycroft, OpenACH, OpenSwan, QEMU and WebM, among others.

Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, emphasised the importance of protecting OSS from patent abuse. “The speed of innovation and quality of software development is driven by collaborators working towards a common goal, organised through a project ecosystem that produces artefacts made freely available to everyone,” he said. “We are pleased to continue to support the OS Zone and the removal of poor quality patents exploited against users of OSS projects and technologies.”

Microsoft’s Associate General Counsel for Open Source, Justin Colannino, called on other companies to support solutions that safeguard open-source innovation. ” “Companies building products using open source technologies must help protect open source communities from threats posed by abusers of low quality patents,” he said.

Additionally, the announcement encouraged companies using open-source technologies to join the OIN community and participate in the fight against patent aggression. OIN, supported by major companies like Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Sony, SUSE, and Toyota, offers patent non-aggression agreements and cross-licenses on a royalty-free basis to its community members.

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