Feeds

Oracle verdict double plus good for Linux movement

Open Invention Network: Industry unification terminates trolls

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

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. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
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
DARPA-derived secure microkernel goes open source tomorrow
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.