Open Source Development Labs Supports Patent Commons
OSDL Announces Patent Commons Project
Leading Linux Advocacy Consortium Will Collect Software Patents and Patent Pledges by Vendors, Industry and Developers
San Francisco, California, USA. LinuxWorld. August 09, 2005.
The Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, today announced a new initiative called the OSDL patent commons project designed to provide a central location where software patents and patent pledges will be housed for the benefit of the open source development community and industry.
"The OSDL patent commons project is designed to increase the utility and value of the growing number of patent pledges and promises in the past year by providing a central repository where intellectual property can be held for the benefit of all of us," said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. "Our goal is to make it easier for developers and industry to take advantage of the good works of vendors, individuals and organizations who may wish to pledge patents and intellectual property in support of the community."
For many, the administrative and logistical challenges posed by granting individual licenses to the growing open source community can be a barrier to the formal licensing of patents. In addition, as more vendors such as IBM, Nokia, Novell, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems pledge their intellectual property to the benefit of the open source community, to date there has not been a single, reliable place where developers and industry are able to advantage of these offerings.
By contributing patents to the OSDL patent commons project, patent holders can be assured that the right to enforce the patents is administered by an organization dedicating to accelerating the development and use of open source software. Developers can be assured that those patents will not be enforced against them on open source software.
"Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source," said Linus Torvalds. "Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat."
While still in the planning stages, the OSDL patent commons project will initially involve the following:
A library and database that aggregates patent pledges made by companies. The library will also aggregate other legal solutions, such as indemnification programs offered by vendors of open source software.
A collection of software patent licenses and software patents (issued and pending) held for the benefit of the open source community.
More details on the OSDL patent commons project will be announced in the coming months.
"OSDL is the ideal steward for such an important legal initiative as the patent commons project," said Eben Moglen, chair of the Software Freedom Law Center. "No matter what your stand on software patents, and I oppose them, I call on developers to contribute to the OSDL patent commons project because there is strength in numbers and when individual contributions are collected together it creates a protective haven where developers can innovate without fear."
About the Open Source Development Labs
OSDL — home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux — is dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux. Founded in 2000 by CA, Hitachi, HP, IBM, Intel and NEC, OSDL is a non-profit organization at the center of Linux supported by a global consortium of more than 60 of the world's largest Linux customers and IT industry leaders. OSDL sponsors industry-wide initiatives around Linux in telecommunications, in the enterprise data center and on corporate desktops. The Lab also provides Linux expertise and computing and test facilities in the United States and Japan available to developers around the world. Visit OSDL on the Web at http://www.osdl.org/.
Jennifer Cloer for OSDL
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Tel: +1 503.547.9451
Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See details in the news story "Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) Announces Patent Commons Project."