Google’s Open Source Blog advises that Google has moved from an associate to a full board member of the Open Invention Network, an organisation designed to cross-licence Linux patents to reduce the risk of being sued by patent trolls.
Open-source software like Linux has spurred huge innovation in cloud computing, the mobile web, and the Internet in general. Linux now powers nearly all the world’s supercomputers, runs the International Space Station, and forms the core of Android. But as open source has proliferated, so have the threats against it, particularly using patents. That’s why we’re expanding our participation in Open Invention Network (OIN), becoming the organization’s first new full board member since 2007.
Companies that join the network are guaranteed protection from being sued by other members, provided that they make the same promise. Google will now sit alongside IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony on the board.
Google’s former head of patents, Michelle Lee, was recently named as the new interim head of the US Patent & Trademark Office, promising faster processing of applications and ‘higher quality’ patents – diplomatic language for greater barriers to patent trolls.