Open Invention Network (OIN) is an open source patent group that works to make sure that Linux is safe from the fury of IP lawsuits. OIN owns more than 1,000 patents and it consists of 2,500+ members, including SUSE, Google, IBM, Red Hat, etc.
In a landmark development, Microsoft, the maker of the open source Windows operating system, has joined OIN. It’s also worth noting that the members of OIN can cross-license their patents to other members. In this process, in a way, Microsoft has open sourced more than 60,000 patents.
According to ZDNet, Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO, said that these newly open sourced patents consist of tons of technologies related to Android, OpenStack, Linux kernel, HyperLedger, LF Energy, etc.
“We pledge our entire patent portfolio to the Linux system. That’s not just the Linux kernel, but other packages built on it,” Erich Andersen, Microsoft’s corporate VP said.
Microsoft will lose billions of dollars
As a result of this change, Microsoft is expected to lose billions of dollars each year. In 2014, the company made about $3.4 billion from its Android patents and Samsung alone paid its $1 billion.
In response to this, Microsoft said that it has undergone a philosophical change. The company’s past tussle with open source community isn’t hidden from anyone, and its gesture surely seems like an effort to save open source projects from IP lawsuits.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft has been taking similar steps in the past. Just two years ago, the company announced Azure IP Advantage Plan to save the users from patent trolls.