Google Joins Linux-Oriented OIN

    August 7, 2007

Google loves Linux, and as long as you share its enthusiasm, the search giant is willing to give you a hand.  That’s the gist, anyway, of a new agreement that makes Google a licensee of the Open Invention Network (OIN).

For the specifics, we can turn to Chris DiBona, Google’s Open Source Programs Manager.  “All OIN licensees, including participants such as IBM, Oracle, NEC and Sony, agree to cross-license their Linux-related patents to the others free of charge,” he explains on the Official Google Blog.  “Patent issues therefore become a much smaller concern inside the community, and OIN members can focus their energy on writing and releasing software rather than vetting their code for intellectual property issues.”

When Google, IBM, and Oracle get to focusing their energy . . . stand back.  DiBona states that his company alone has “open-sourced over a million lines of code,” and there’s no telling where the OIN will go from here.  Google’s post uses the words “grow and thrive,” however, and it’s quite possible that other companies will follow Mountain View in this matter.

And as mentioned earlier, whatever the OIN’s destination, it’s now vastly less likely to get held up by lawsuits.  “Patent holders typically mount a defense against a possible infringement challenge by threatening to mount their own case against the would-be challenger,” notes Charles Babcock for InformationWeek.  “The more patents in an organization’s portfolio, the more likely it will be able to mount a counter challenge and the better its potential defense . . .”

Hat tip to bigmouthmedia.