Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Open Invention Network

IBM, Sony, Novell, Red Hat, and Philips today announced that they are forming the Open Invention Network, which will license their patent portfolio to all takers, royalty free, in exchange that they not exert their own patent rights against Linux and open source software. They are starting out with the Commerce One patents that Novell acquired for $15.5 million a few months ago, and claim to have enough investment to continue amassing more patents.

This is an exciting development, and could become vastly more exciting as this firm, or others like it, generalize beyond open source. More on this at 271. As Jack Messman, head of Novell, said, "This is a breakthrough idea whose time has come."


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