Feeds

Oracle verdict double plus good for Linux movement

Open Invention Network: Industry unification terminates trolls

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

The recent verdict against Oracle in its patent case against Google over Java use in Android is good news for the Linux community – and in more ways than one, according to Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network (OIN).

The OIN was set up in 2005 to build a defensive patent-portfolio pot that could be shared royalty-free by participants, and which could be used to ward off patent trolls and aggressive litigation against Linux. Companies such as Red Hat, Google, and IBM have put money into the venture as a way of safeguarding themselves and promoting open source code.

Last week's verdict set an encouraging precedent, Bergelt told The Register.

"It's a heartening sign the judge was very analytical and it wasn't a passive case of not making a decision," he said. "It was an affirmative decision which we should take as a positive signal to the community."

Given that both Oracle and Google are members of the OIN, one might wonder how they ended up in court at all. But with issues that don’t directly affect the kernel, it wasn't in the OIN's remit to get involved, Bergelt explained. The Java case was about separate technologies from Linux, although that didn't stop Google from draping itself in the open source mantle for the case.

There was also another benefit to high-profile cases like this, he pointed out: people are reacting in general against patent litigation and looking for alternatives.

Bergelt recounted how the OIN had recently purchased a patent bundle covering functions used by 80 to 90 per cent of web companies at well below market value, because the seller was concerned about the uses to which it might be put by IP lawyers. Companies are seeing the benefits of selling to the OIN, too.

"Our money is as green as anybody else's," he said. "Companies see the ills or the potential negative consequences of selling to the highest bidder or to someone who plans monetization via litigation."

The OIN is also trying to build up defenses for developers and organizations that want nothing to do with the patent system. So-called Linux Defenders are registering cases of prior art and registered statmenets around key Linux processes and these can be used to discourage the trolls.

"There's a community that's somewhat at the edges and somewhat antagonistic towards patenting. then we provide them with a tool that suits their philosophy by giving them an anti-patent, if you will," Bergelt said.

He compared the situation to that of the major network-switching companies, who saw over time that there was more to be gained from cross licensing and trying not to stifle innovation. The same kind of approach is perfect for Linux, given the central role it plays in the industry, he argues, and would work in the interests of true innovators rather than patent trolls. ®

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.