SUSE welcomes cooperation of Open Invention Network, Linux Foundation, IBM and Microsoft in co-funding Unified Patent’s new Open Source Zone


Co-Author: Ciaran Farrell, IP & Privacy Counsel, Board Member of Open Invention Network
Co-Author: Alan Clark SUSE CTO Office, Board Member of Linux Foundation


An eternal truth is that everything has its opposite for good and evil.  Patents are no exception. In fact, even the simple word ‘Patent’ evokes much positive and negative emotion in today’s software world – particularly as news continues to circulate around baseless patent lawsuits by non-practicing entities (NPEs). 

But in news this week there is a bit of positive for a change.  The positive news is the announcement of the efforts by Unified Patents to reduce NPE assertion of invalid patents in the open source software zone.  

SUSE applauds this cooperation of the Open Invention Network, Linux Foundation, IBM and Microsoft in co-funding Unified Patent’s new Open Source Zone. 

Open Invention Network (“OIN”) is the largest patent non-aggression community in history. SUSE is a founding member of the Linux Foundation and OIN. OIN’s mission, whose current members along with SUSE include Google, Toyota, Philips, NEC, IBM and Sony, is to enable freedom of action for OIN community members and users of open source technology through a patent non-aggression cross-license in the Linux system.  SUSE firmly believes in the benefits to open source technology of the creation and maintenance of a defined area of cooperation to mitigate the danger of patent aggression and to thus encourage innovation. 

Today’s Unified Patents announcement furthers this effort to mitigate, reduce and target NPE assertion of invalid patents in open source software.  Their efforts in prior art searches, USPTO filings, reviews and reexaminations, tied with their efforts to identify potential NPE threats to open source communities will greatly deter future disruption of NPEs in open source ecosystems.  

While today’s announcement may seem a bit obtuse, SUSE feels this legal effort is a great, understated milestone in fostering the growth and advancement of today’s commercial grade adoption and innovative use of open source.  Three cheers for some positive news on patents

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Ciaran Farrell