OIN, the largest patent non-aggression community in the world, supports Open Source Software (OSS) and complementary initiatives aligned with our mission to enable freedom of action in Linux and adjacent OSS technologies.
Here are a few organizations and initiatives that we support. We encourage you to get involved as an Open Source Software community member.
Asian Legal Network (ALN)
We teamed with Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and The Linux Foundation to launch the Asian Legal Network (ALN) to provide a leading forum for sharing knowledge and best practices regarding Free Software legal affairs, particularly those relevant to Asia. The Asian Legal Network’s inaugural meetings took place in 2014, and since its launch we have typically held several ALN meetings every year, rotating between cities throughout Asia.
GPL Cooperation Commitment
Our 7 funding members – Google, IBM (including Red Hat), SUSE, Sony, NEC, Philips and Toyota – have committed to rejecting abusive tactics in the enforcement of OSS licenses by adopting the GPL Cooperation Commitment.
The unanimous support of OIN’s funding members to this commitment reflects the strong belief that responsible compliance in OSS licensing is important and that license enforcement in OSS ecosystems comes with a cultural expectation that all parties will behave reasonably.
Dedicated to supporting the Open Source Software community in the expensive minefield which comprises the modern software patent landscape — including poor quality patents — Linux Defenders provides information on defensive Intellectual Property (IP) strategies to help combat patent aggressors, works to limit patent and applications which pose threats to the community, and provides relevant game-changing prior art whenever possible.
The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit consortium dedicated to fostering the growth of Linux and collaborative software development. Founded in 2000, the organization sponsors the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and promotes, protects and advances the Linux Operating System (OS) and collaborative software development by marshaling the resources of its members and the Open Source community.
The Linux Foundation provides a neutral forum for collaboration and education. It hosts collaborative projects, Linux conferences, as well as generates original research and content to advance the understanding of Linux and collaborative software development.
OIN is an advocate of the Linux Foundation, supports its projects and conferences, and partners with the organization to actively protect Linux and other key Open Source Software projects from patent aggression.
The License On Transfer (LOT) Network is a nonprofit community of companies created in 2014 to combat Patent Assertion Entities (PAE). As part of a holistic approach to defensive patent management, OIN recommends that all Open Source community members participate in LOT. An anti-PAE initiative originally founded by Google and Red Hat, LOT is a natural complement to OIN’s patent non-aggression community.
LOT members are shielded from potential suits over millions of patents and remain free to sue each other directly over their patents, sell their patents to other operating companies, or participate in patent pools. If a LOT member sells their assets to a PAE, a conditional license in the LOT Agreement triggers, and LOT members are granted immunity for the life of the patent. These patents they may be used against organizations that are not LOT members.
Small companies join for FREE, while larger companies pay modest, annual fees.
As of December 2020, The OpenChain Project maintains the International Standard that defines Open Source compliance and process management, known as OpenChain 2.1, ISO/IEC 5230:2020. Toyota — one of OIN’s funding members — was the 1st company to adopt this standard.
OpenChain is a critical project of the Linux Foundation, It allows companies of all sizes in all sectors to implement the key requirements of a quality Open Source compliance program.
“ISO/IEC 5230:2020 will improve Open Source Software (OSS) compliance, enhance trust in the supply chain and reduce friction in transactions. It has been deployed as a de facto standard for 4 years and fostered exceptional engagement from a diversity of companies across multiple sectors,” says Shane Coughlan, OpenChain General Manager. “Our transition to a formal International Standard as ISO/IEC 5230:2020 marks an important inflection point for OpenChain and Open Source as a whole.”
Open Source Law, Policy, and Practice 2nd Edition
The 2nd edition of Open Source Law, Policy, and Practice edited by Amanda Brock and Published by Oxford University Press has been written by 25 world-leading Open Source and legal experts, including contributors from multiple Open Invention Network participants— and was launched at All Things Open, the largest tech conference on the East Coast in November 2022.
CEO of OpenUK and an OIN European licensing executive, Amanda Brock is the Editor & Author of Chapter 16: “Operation and Commercial Models of Open Source & Commercial Agreements.” OIN’s CEO, Keith Bergelt, writes the Foreword. Mirko Boehm, former Director of the OIN Linux System definition & Head of Delivery for MBition/Mercedes-Benz contributes Chapter 15: “Economics of Open Source.” Shane Coughlan, GM of the Linux Foundation’s OpenChain Project and OIN partner, authors Chapter 6: “Transforming the Supply Chain with OpenChain ISO 5230.”
The book — is updated and focuses on global technology, market changes over the last decade and provides an in-depth review of the community, legal, and commercial factors impacting Open Source Software (OSS). It also introduces Open Hardware and Open Data.
We sponsor, support and provide strategic guidance about software preservation for Software Heritage, a project of Inria, the French National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology in partnership with UNESCO.
Software Heritage is a non-profit multi-stakeholder project launched in 2016 with the mission to collect, preserve and share all software that is publicly available in source code form to build a common, shared infrastructure at the service of industry, research, culture and society as a whole.
Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone
As of February 2023, Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone has challenged 50 patents with excellent success. OIN and other Open Source supporters — IBM, Microsoft & The Linux Foundation — funded the zone in November 2019 & have since been joined by OIN members Meta & Mercedes-Benz. This multi-million-dollar, multi-year initiative further protects Linux and Open Source Software (OSS) from Patent Assertion Entities (PAE) leveraging low-quality patents, also called patent trolls. Together, this group supports Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone with a substantial annual subscription for patent non-aggression activities that deter PAEs from targeting Linux and adjacent OSS technologies relied on by developers, distributors and users.
Unified Patents is an international organization of over 200 businesses that together, take an aggressive stance to deter patent abuse in defined technology sectors, known as zones. Its actions are focused in zones with substantial assertions by Standards Essential Patents (SEP) holders and/or Non-Practicing Entities (NPE). These actions may include analytics, prior art, invalidity contests, patentability analysis, administrative patent review (PTAB), amicus briefs, economic surveys, and studies. Unified Patents works independently of its members to achieve its goals.
Small members join for FREE, while larger companies pay modest, annual fees.