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Open Source to Buy Patents

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The open-source movement will attempt to better negotiate a potential litigation minefield with the unveiling on Thursday of a company that will acquire technology patents to limit the movement’s legal exposure.

They include IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony. Through OIN, they will acquire patents and offer them royalty-free with the proviso that acquirers not assert them against Linux or other OIN members.

The Open Invention Network (OIN) will acquire related patents and offer them royalty-free to companies, institutions, or individuals that agree not to assert their patents against the Linux operating system or Linux applications.

The company refused to give details about the amount of funds being contributed by its benefactors, but said it was significant.

On Redherring.

On Informationweek.

file patents

The key is to file patents, not buy them as the patent office will accept almost any patent no matter how outlandish or obvious it is that it was invented before then. Look how far SCO has gone with its case. Apple I think buys patents just to get leverage with Microsoft. Key components of MySQL, Perl, Apache, and other popular open source packages could be patented and then they could use them as leverage with companies like Microsoft.

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