Cisco and Twitter join Linux patent group
Networking company Cisco and micro-blogging leader Twitter have become licensees of the Open Invention Network, the group created in 2005 to provide a patent pool for Linux. The companies were two of the thirty-five new companies to join the organisation in the second quarter of 2011. Others companies included Fujitsu, Invisible Things Labs, Univention GmbH, Puppet Labs, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, CentOS and Diaspora.
The organisations will now have royalty-free access to the portfolio of patents held by the OIN as long as they agree not to assert any of their own patents against what the OIN define as the "Linux System". The second quarter has seen fewer companies join the organisation than in the first quarter when seventy new licensees were added. Overall, the organisation has more than 360 corporate supporters.
The OIN was created in 2005 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony as a defensive measure to prevent patent aggression against the Linux ecosystem; Canonical became the organisation's first Associate Member in 2010. One example of the work done by the OIN: in 2009 the company acquired 22 patents believed to be especially threatening to open source projects and which were being sold off by Microsoft.