OIN’s efforts have enabled businesses and organizations to confidently invest their resources to develop, integrate and use open source software.

Durham, NC (November 17, 2020) – Open Invention Network (OIN) is celebrating its 15th year protecting the Open Source Software (OSS) community from patent risk. OIN’s efforts have enabled businesses and organizations to confidently invest their resources to develop, integrate and use OSS, safeguarding them from patent risk in core Linux and adjacent OSS technologies.

“Freedom to participate in open source projects and adopt Linux and other open source code has been enabled through broad based participation in the OIN cross-license, which has become a litmus test for authenticity in the open source community,” according to Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “Joining the OIN community demonstrates an explicit recognition among signatories of a commitment to open source technologies and the set of norms required around the appropriate use of patents in an increasingly open source-centric world.  Companies that do not sign the OIN license and refuse to participate in this rapidly growing community are explicitly or implicitly reserving the right to use their patents to litigate on core Linux and OSS functionality.”

Since its founding in 2005, powered by the contributions of many individuals and organizations, OIN has grown to be the largest patent non-aggression community in history with over 3,300 participants. Over the past 15 years, OIN’s community has experienced a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for licensees of more than 50%, and the OIN community in total now owns more than 2.6 million patents and applications. In addition, OIN provides royalty-free access to its strategic portfolio of more than 1,300 worldwide patents and applications.

The scope of patent non-aggression between OIN community members is defined by OIN’s Linux System definition.  It has evolved to include nearly 3,400 software packages, which is three times that which was covered at its launch in 2005. This ensures freedom of action in global open source projects and technology platforms including Linux, Python, GNOME, SUSE, X.org, Perl, Fedora, Android, Hyperledger, Open Stack, Apache, Avro, Kafka, Spark and Hadoop; Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), Robot Operating System (ROS), KDE Frameworks, Eclipse Paho and Mosquito, among many others.

In addition to its historic focus of limiting operating companies antagonistic to Linux and OSS from using patents to slow or stall OSS development, OIN has worked with numerous community members to either eradicate patent aggressors’ lawsuits or enable members to settle disputes cost effectively.  As patent risk has evolved to include patent assertion entities (PAEs), OIN has shifted a portion of its focus and partnered with IBM, The Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to fund the first anti-PAE program – Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone – designed specifically to limit the effect of PAE aggression directed at the open source community.

OIN’s community explicitly supports patent non-aggression in core Linux and adjacent open source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. Patents owned by OIN are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System.  The OIN license can be signed online at http://www.j-oin.net/.

“Open Invention Network is a unique organization. For 15 years, it has protected the Linux and open source community from patent aggression, while fostering a community that understands that value of shared technological development,” said Tim Kowalski, Chairman of Open Invention Network. “It has been an honor to have worked with the OIN team, and fellow OIN Board members, to plan and implement the strategic initiatives that have provided protection for open source.”

“Google has been a proud member of OIN since joining the community in 2007. Linux and adjacent open source software power the cloud-based services of today and tomorrow,” said Chris DiBona, Director of Open Source at Google. “Throughout, OIN has been there to ensure that open source remains safe for users, consumers, and developers alike to consume and upon which to build.”

“Since its inception 15 years ago, OIN has provided unprecedented protection to enable the incredible growth and adoption of Linux and other related open source software around the world,” said Ken King, General Manager, OpenPower at IBM.   “As the OIN community has grown to over 3,000 members and the Linux definition has matured, that protection has only grown stronger.  IBM and Red Hat have been two of the leading proponents and drivers of Linux and open source software for over 20 years and have been founding members of OIN since its inception.  Today, IBM and Red Hat continue to share with OIN a deep and unwavering commitment to scale Linux and open source innovation providing flexibility, choice and leadership for the industry.”

“Global adoption of Linux and other open source technologies is an irreversible trend. For the last fifteen years, they have transformed almost every industry,” said Hirotake Konda, Deputy General Manager of IP Management Division and Department Manager of Licensing Department of NEC, and Jackson Chen, Senior Associate General Counsel of NECAM. “By sharing innovation, Linux and open source capabilities have soared, application interoperability is unprecedented, connectivity is virtually everywhere, while business and consumer productivity are at all-time highs. By blocking patent aggression in open source, OIN has enabled safer investments in product development and helped to enable these innovations.”

“Philips is proud to be a founder of the Open Invention Network. Over the years, OSS has been an important building block for many of our businesses, and is increasingly important for the medical and health tech industries. OSS enables faster development of monitoring, imaging, diagnostic, and informatic platforms, while driving down costs,” said Jako Eleveld, Head of IP Licensing of Royal Philips. “With more than 3,300 community members, OIN is ensuring that OSS innovation continues its rapid pace, in a safe environment enabled by licensing.”

“At the time of OIN’s founding, open source was nascent, and most software was built in silos. During the past 15 years, we have been pleased to watch the OIN community grow from 6 members to more than 3300,” said Peter Toto, Senior VP, IP Counsel at Sony Corporation of America. “The OIN community’s powerful cross license has enabled businesses to safely develop and sell innovative new systems and platforms that have revolutionized the way the world conducts business.”

“As a global leader in open source, SUSE enables innovation from the largest data centers in the world to cloud environments, and our technology is embedded in every day devices like cars, points of sale, and MRIs. Open source infrastructure is the power behind the cloud and digital transformation, and our customers rely on us for mission critical business outcomes and for innovation,” said Thomas Di Giacomo, president of engineering and innovation at SUSE.  “As a leader in bringing open source solutions to enterprises, including enterprise Linux, we see firsthand why Linux is the number one platform for cloud, embedded devices and high-speed containers at the edge. Open source is one of the fastest growing markets in the industry, in part, due to the protection afforded by the OIN, which we are a proud active member for years, and its patent non-aggression community.”

“Over its history, the automotive industry has undergone periods of significant innovation. We are now undergoing a fundamental shift in the way automotive platforms are used by consumers and businesses. Automotive Grade Linux and other OSS projects are helping the industry rapidly transform. By protecting them from patent risk, OIN has enabled automotive manufacturers to effectively integrate new kinds of software-based technologies into cars.” said Yosuke Iida, General Manager of Intellectual Property Division at Toyota.


About Open Invention Network

Open Invention Network (OIN) is the largest patent non-aggression community in history and supports freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open source software (OSS). Patent non-aggression in core technologies is a cultural norm within OSS, so that the litmus test for authentic behavior in the OSS community includes OIN membership. Funded by Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Sony, SUSE, and Toyota, OIN has more than 3,300 community members and owns more than 1,300 global patents and applications. The OIN patent license and member cross-licenses are available royalty-free to any party that joins the OIN community.

For more information, visit http://www.openinventionnetwork.com.


Media-Only Contact:
Ed Schauweker
AVID Public Relations for Open Invention Network
+1 (703) 963-5238