Dec 20, 2013 04:13 PM EST
Google today announced its intention to become the first new full board member of the Open Invention Network since 2007. Mountain View was already an associate member of the OIN, but its decision today reaffirms the company’s commitment to open source technology.
The OIN is an open-source community that seeks to limit litigation between companies over patents pertaining to Linux. The main way the OIN accomplishes this is by bolstering its own patent library, which currently holds around 600 entries, and licensing the technology without royalty fees to companies in exchange for agreeing not to sue any OIN member over a Linux patent.
“OIN protects the open-source community through a patent cross-license for Linux and related open-source technologies. The license is free and available to companies, organizations, and individual developers if they agree not to assert their own patents against Linux. OIN also defends against anti-open-source patent aggression through education, reform efforts, and its own defensive patent portfolio,” the company wrote in a Google Blog post.
Google notes the increased significance of Linux in recent years. The operating system now powers most of the world’s supercomputers, the International Space Station and perhaps most famously is the basis for Google’s Android mobile OS.
Mountain View says threats against the open-source community have increased greatly, with numerous patent lawsuits filed in the past couple years alone.
“Over nearly three decades, what is now known as open-source software has benefited consumers all over the world by delivering innovative products and services. We’re committed to helping protect that innovation and are happy to expand our role in OIN.”
The OIN already counts a number of high-profile tech companies as full board members, including IBM, Sony and Red Hat.
In addition to cross-licensing its library of Linux patents, OIN says it also works to protect the open-source community by sponsoring education initiatives and reform efforts.
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