OIN or the Open Invention Network is an industry-supporting independent group consisting of Linux users in a royalty-free environment and be protected from lawsuits for license infringement by proprietary software owners. The confrontation between SCO vs Novell; Microsoft’s claim of more than 235 patents being violated by Linux and open software community;
the list is long and lawsuits plenty. The organization protects small users from being exposed to corporate lawsuits given the larger patent pool and protection Open Invention Network offers.
What is Open Invention Network
Open Invention Network was formed in 2005 with several commercial software giants like IBM, Novell, Phillips, Red Hat, NEC, Sony becoming founding members and investing substantially in the growth of the organization. The latest to seek support from the fraternity partners is Google, on the lines of Ubuntu Open source software promoter Canonical. Yahoo became an entrant, late last year.
In the first few months of this year, the membership has increased with corporate licences numbering 334 and OpenStack to walking into the industry endorsed organization. Older members include the likes of Facebook, HP, Fujitisu, RackSpace, Juniper.
With close to 300 patents, growing list of more than 2,000 agreements with licensees and members for member-users to use all Linux based software without fear of being penalized for infringement(however unintentional).
Presently headed by CEO Keith Bergett, a doyen in intellectual property management in commercial domain, OIN is moving into becoming more relevant even to the casual Linux-based software developers.
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. There will always be those who will be looking at Linux potentially threatening their livelihood, their way of life.”
Incremental Innovation is insufficient
As BergeIt, once famously said, “incremental innovation, which is a euphemism for mediocrity,” is what happens with proprietary software and they should not impede development of innovative inventions with frivolous infringement claims.
How OIN is the channel partner
Where OIN delivers is by creating a shield against pseudo claims and providing access to patent owned collectively by the organization. This has considerably lowered the Linux-related patents misuse and supporters greater development opportunities for community members.
OIN is available for Transacting processes, biometrics software, security, data storage (Facebook data centres use Linux platform extensively, effectively).
Mobile Patents Under OIN cover
BergIt says 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 Android mobile operating systems.”
The key focus or OIN with respect to Android is, to help Android to survive and sustain itself, considering its massive market share.
Up until now OIN has been around to help small companies with limited resources to defend themselves from lawsuits. However, OIN is now poised to play a great role and will expand its member base to offer comprehensive support to all members and especially of the likes of Facebook. This will hopefully limit the number of applications the likes of IBM, HP or Microsoft will file as patents and consider offering only true inventions.