Microsoft open-sources 60,000 patents to help Linux avoid lawsuits

Microsoft open-sources 60,000 patents to help Linux avoid lawsuits

Microsoft open-sources 60,000 patents to help Linux avoid lawsuits

Obviously there are exceptions to what Microsoft is making available.

Microsoft has made 60,000 patents open source to help Linux and joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), an open source patent group created to help protect Linux from patent lawsuits.

The OIN group formed in 2005 to protect proponents of the open source Linux operating system from legal actions, and now covers a broader range of open source technologies.

"Microsoft sees open source as a key innovation engine, and for the past several years we have increased our involvement in, and contributions to, the open source community", said Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, Microsoft. In this process, in a way, Microsoft has open sourced more than 60,000 patents. "It is no secret that there has been friction in the past between Microsoft and the open source community over the issue of patents". Now, this move should help quell those looking to the company to make good on its claims as an ally to the Linux community. As well, the community has worked over time to acquire patents directly beneficial to protecting the open source community.

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Microsoft has made billions from its extensive library of software patents. It's also worth noting that the members of OIN can cross-license their patents to other members.

Now, the company is really putting its money where its mouth is by joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), a group which manages a system of patent cross-licensing created to reduce the risk of open-source projects being shut down by patent infringement claims - with some of said claims having, in the past, come from Microsoft itself.

Jim Zemlin, Executive Director, The Linux Foundation offers his thoughts below.

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