Tom Tom joins Open Invention Network
Tom Tom has become a licensee of the Open Invention Network (OIN). The OIN was formed to protect Linux by being a clearing house for over 275 patents and patent applications. These are available, on a royalty free basis, to any member licensee. Members must agree not to use their own patent portfolio against Linux. Companies can also contribute their patents to the OIN to make them generally available. OIN is also one of the backers of Linux Defenders.
Tom Tom's director of IP said "Linux plays an important role at TomTom as the core of all our Portable Navigation Devices ... We believe that by becoming an Open Invention Network licensee, we encourage Linux development and foster innovation in a technical community that benefits everyone."
Tom Tom was sued for patent infringement by Microsoft in February, in what some believe was an attack on Linux; two of the patents in question cover the implementation of FAT32 in Linux, while the rest refer to GPS systems. The company recently counter sued, citing Microsoft's infringement of a number of its own GPS related patents. Although the outstanding legal issues are not mentioned in the announcement, Tom Tom's becoming an OIN licensee may provide it with extra resources in the expected courtroom battle.