Open Invention Network purchases former Microsoft patents
According to a report published online by the Wall Street Journal, the Open Invention Network (OIN) has announced plans to purchase 22 former Microsoft patents. The consortium consists of numerous major software and hardware firms, including a number of Linux distributors; it is currently systematically setting up a portfolio of patents to protect the Linux ecosystem from charges of patent violation. In return for the promise not to use their own patents against Linux, OIN members can license the patents for free.
OIN is now purchasing 22 patents from the Allied Security Trust, which took them over from Microsoft last year. The AST, which represents such companies as HP, Sun, Cisco and Google, purchases patents, issues generous licenses to its members, and resells the patents on the market.
It is unclear at present which patents are in question, but OIN head Keith Bergelt says that Microsoft itself considered the patents relevant for Linux. For some time now, the US software giant has been claiming that the Linux kernel itself violates 42 of its patents.
Microsoft says it sold the patents, which it had previously purchased from SGI, to the AST because it no longer considered them of strategic importance.