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Microsoft promises to defend-not attack-Linux with its 60,000 patents

11 October 2018

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that the company is joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), a group that provides a licensing platform for Linux of an estimated 2,400 companies. "Through its participation in OIN, Microsoft is explicitly acknowledging the importance of open source software to its future growth", said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network.

OIN's chief mission is to protect Linux from patent lawsuits by having members like Google, RedHat, IBM, and now, Microsoft.

Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group, said: "We want to protect open source projects from IP lawsuits, so we're opening our patent portfolio to the OIN". In return it expects that licensees do not assert their patents against the Linux community.

With Microsoft's contribution of 60,000 patents, the OIN has seen its patent library multiple nearly 50 times over.

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Microsoft is open-sourcing its vast patent portfolio. "For others who have followed our evolution as a company, we hope this will be viewed as the next logical step for a company that is listening to its customers and is firmly committed to Linux and other open source programs".

Make a clear, unambiguous statement that it has ceased all patent infringement claims on the use of Linux in Android.

"Open source development continues to expand into new products and markets to create unrivaled levels of innovation". It's also worth noting that the members of OIN can cross-license their patents to other members.

For those unfamiliar, the Open Innovation Network is the world's largest patent consortium where members share their patents with other members loyalty-free, with each member agreeing not to sue Linux developers for their use of the shared patents in their applications.

Microsoft promises to defend-not attack-Linux with its 60,000 patents