In a move that sent waves through the IP and tech communities, Microsoft has decided to make their entire 60,000 patent portfolio available to members of Open Invention Network, a community of open-source software developers whose stated mission is “protecting Linux” from the recent rise in software patent lawsuits. This move makes all of Microsoft’s patents available to members of OIN, completely free of charge or royalty fees. Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s executive vice president of their cloud and enterprise group, explained the move: “We want to protect open-source projects from IP lawsuits, so we’re opening our patent portfolio to the OIN.”
In a recent interview, OIN CEO Keith Bergelt commented that “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 Energyand HyperLedger, and their predecessor and successor versions.”
There are some notable exceptions to Microsoft’s move to open-source it’s portfolio, namely the legacy Windows platform and desktop application code.
This is great news for startups and growing companies in the software development space. When large companies make their patents available through open or cross-licensing platforms, it greatly reduces the risk of infringement, allowing technology developers to move forward without potentially facing expensive and time-consuming litigation.
For more information on Open Invention Network, and their newly-expanded list of open source patents, visit www.openinventionnetwork.com.