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Founding Open Source Zone Members OIN, The Linux Foundation, and Microsoft Mark Five Years of Successes in Protecting Open Source Software from Patent Assertion Entities

DURHAM, N.C., April 10, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, announced today that it will continue, with support from Microsoft and The Linux Foundation, funding Unified Patents’ Open Source Zone (OS Zone) for a fifth year in a row. Since their initial founding of the OS Zone in 2019, OIN, The Linux Foundation, and Microsoft have invested substantially to protect open-source software (OSS) from Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) – sometimes referred to as patent trolls. Additional support for OS Zone funding comes from Amazon, Apple, CableLabs (Cable Companies Trade Organization), Mercedes-Benz, Meta, ServiceNow, and Twilio.

“As open source technology continues its inexorable growth into new markets, PAEs have increasingly targeted the OSS community,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network. “We see significant value in partnering again with The Linux Foundation and Microsoft, to support the Unified Patents OS Zone. We are also pleased to welcome new companies that are providing financial support to continue funding the OS Zone’s operations. More needs to be done, however, because the stakes are becoming higher as better funded PAEs are placing acute focus on critical OSS projects that enable widespread innovation such as cloud native.”

The OS Zone protects OSS from PAEs by limiting their ability to leverage their low-quality patents and the high cost of meritless litigation. In the last four years, it has successfully challenged over 54 PAE patents that threatened OSS technologies. Threatened and protected open-source technologies and projects include Apache (Cocoon and mod_evasive), Argo, Bluez, Fail2Ban, FreeMesh & LibreMesh, iFolder, LibVLC, Linkerd, Linux & automotive Linux, Kubernetes, KVM, Magento, Mastodon, Mozilla Firefox, Mycroft, OpenACH, OpenSwan, QEMU and WebM, among others.

“Across the spectrum of open source technologies, speed of innovation and quality of software development is driven by collaborators working towards a common goal, organized through a project ecosystem that produces artifacts made freely available to everyone,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director at The Linux Foundation. “We are pleased to continue to support the OS Zone and the removal of poor quality patents exploited against users of OSS projects and technologies.”

While this additional support expands the level of benefit and further reduces litigation risk from patents owned by PAEs, it is not enough. “Companies building products using open source technologies must help protect open source communities from threats posed by abusers of low quality patents,” said Justin Colannino, Associate General Counsel for Open Source at Microsoft. “We applaud the innovative approach taken by the OS Zone and call on other companies to support solutions that protect open source innovation from targeted threats.”

As participants in its rapidly growing community, OIN members practice patent non-aggression in core Linux and adjacent open source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. Please become members of the OIN community today and participate in the broader fight against patent aggression threatening to retard OSS innovation. The membership form and the OIN license agreement can be signed online at http://www.j-oin.net/.

About Open Invention Network
Open Invention Network (OIN) is the largest patent non-aggression community in history and supports freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open source software (OSS). Patent non-aggression in core technologies is a cultural norm within OSS. The litmus test for authentic behavior in the OSS community includes OIN membership. Funded by Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Sony, SUSE, and Toyota, OIN has more than 3,800 community members. The OIN patent license and member cross-licenses are available royalty-free to any party that joins the OIN community.

For more information, visit http://www.openinventionnetwork.com.

Media-Only Contact:

Ed Schauweker
AVID Public Relations for Open Invention Network
[email protected]
+1 (703) 963-5238

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