Linux Defenders is a manifestation of the commitment that OIN has made to protect its community and core Open Source Software from patent aggression. It is an umbrella concept encompassing the many ways that OIN and its partners are working to eliminate low-quality patents, which are frequently leveraged by strategic patent aggressors and patent trolls. Specifically, OIN works in the following ways to support its community members and the broader Open Source community.
Prior Art Assistance
In many cases where one of our community members was the subject of patent infringement claims, Open Invention Network has leveraged our network of relationships to identify and share prior art for use against patent trolls or corporate patent aggressors. This helps OIN licensees at risk, or in litigation, to better defend against Linux-centric patent aggression.
Reducing Patent Application Claim Scope
Open Invention Network has been a leading user of third party pre-issuance submissions, which are prior art submissions to limit the claim scope, or secure outright rejection, of overly broad patent claims in patent applications which are focused on key technology areas relevant to Linux and adjacent open source technologies.
Encouraging Open Source Software Use of Inter Partes Review
“Inter Partes Review”, also known as an “IPR”, is a procedure for challenging the validity of an issued patent owned by a 3rd party. By challenging patents with IPRs, the Linux and broader Open Source community can help to eliminate them. Unified Patents — which OIN, IBM, Linux Foundation and Microsoft support through its Open Source Zone —has successfully invalidated several patents using IPRs.
Advocating Open Source Use of Defensive Publications
Defensive publications are documents that provide descriptions and artwork of an invention so that it enters the public domain and becomes prior art. The disclosure prevents other parties from obtaining a low-quality patent (or, a non-novel patent) on the same invention later. OIN encourages all Open Source community members to submit inventions as defensive publications for free at tdcommons.org.