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Thu Oct 11, 2018, 05:04 AM

Microsoft open-sources its patent portfolio

https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-open-sources-its-entire-patent-portfolio/

Several years ago, I said the one thing Microsoft has to do -- to convince everyone in open source that it's truly an open-source supporter -- is stop using its patents against Android vendors. Now, it's joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), an open-source patent consortium. Microsoft has essentially agreed to grant a royalty-free and unrestricted license to its entire patent portfolio to all other OIN members.

Before Microsoft joined, OIN had more than 2,650 community members and owns more than 1,300 global patents and applications. OIN is the largest patent non-aggression community in history and represents a core set of open-source intellectual-property values. Its members include Google, IBM, Red Hat, and SUSE. The OIN patent license and member cross-licenses are available royalty-free to anyone who joins the OIN community.

Keith Bergelt, OIN's CEO, commented on Microsoft's announcement in an interview: "This is everything Microsoft has, and it covers everything related to older open-source technologies such as Android, the Linux kernel, and OpenStack; newer technologies such as LF Energy and HyperLedger, and their predecessor and successor versions."

In a conversation, Erich Andersen, Microsoft's corporate vice president and chief intellectual property (IP) counsel -- that is, Microsoft top patent person -- added: We "pledge our entire patent portfolio to the Linux system. That's not just the Linux kernel, but other packages built on it."


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