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Microsoft joins OIN, open sources its patent portfolio to Linux community

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Microsoft and Open Invention Network

Microsoft is becoming a part of the Open Invention Network, making one of the most thoughtful gesture  for Linux and open source community.

Open Invention Network (OIN) is a leading patent non-aggression community, dedicated to protecting Linux and other open source software (OSS) programs from patent risk. The community currently has more than 2550 members, including several from Fortune 500 companies, startups, and individual developers.

The decision will bring Microsoft’s portfolio of more than 60,000 issued patents to OIN. These patents will be available to other organizations in the OIN group, without any royalty or license restrictions.

“Microsoft sees open source as a key innovation engine, and for the past several years we have increased our involvement in, and contributions to, the open source community,” said Erich Andersen, Corporate Vice President and Chief IP Counsel, Microsoft.

“We believe the protection OIN offers the open source community helps increase global contributions to and adoption of open source technologies.  We are honored to stand with OIN as an active participant in its program to protect against patent aggression in core Linux and other important OSS technologies.”

Further, this move will encourage more organizations to join Open Invention Network and benefit the open source community. Microsoft’s aim with joining OIN is to help open source developers and users protect the Linux ecosystem and encourage innovation with open source software.

“Open source development continues to expand into new products and markets to create unrivaled levels of innovation.  Through its participation in OIN, Microsoft is explicitly acknowledging the importance of open source software to its future growth,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network.

“Microsoft’s participation in OIN adds to our strong community, which through its breadth and depth has reduced patent risk in core technologies, and unequivocally signals for all companies who are using OSS but have yet to join OIN that the litmus test for authentic behavior in the OSS community includes OIN participation.”

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Microsoft believes that collaborative development through the open source process can speed up innovation. It has been working to make the software open source for a decade now, since it open sourced ASP.NET in 2008.

Since then, the company has open sourced several major projects including .NET Core, TypeScript, VS Code and PowerShell. Most recently, it open sourced the Infer.NET on GitHub. It’s a machine learning engine that the company uses to power its own platforms, including Office, Azure, and Xbox.

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