OSDL Announces Patent Commons Project

Leading Linux Advocacy Consortium Will Collect Software Patents and Patent

Pledges by Vendors, Industry and Developers

Aug 09, 2005, 01:00 ET from Open Source Development Labs

    SAN FRANCISCO, LINUXWORLD, Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Source
 Development Labs (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the
 adoption of Linux, today announced a new initiative called the OSDL patent
 commons project designed to provide a central location where software patents
 and patent pledges will be housed for the benefit of the open source
 development community and industry.
     "The OSDL patent commons project is designed to increase the utility and
 value of the growing number of patent pledges and promises in the past year by
 providing a central repository where intellectual property can be held for the
 benefit of all of us," said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. "Our goal is to make it
 easier for developers and industry to take advantage of the good works of
 vendors, individuals and organizations who may wish to pledge patents and
 intellectual property in support of the community."
     For many, the administrative and logistical challenges posed by granting
 individual licenses to the growing open source community can be a barrier to
 the formal licensing of patents. In addition, as more vendors such as IBM,
 Nokia, Novell, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems pledge their intellectual property
 to the benefit of the open source community, to date there has not been a
 single, reliable place where developers and industry are able to advantage of
 these offerings.
     By contributing patents to the OSDL patent commons project, patent holders
 can be assured that the right to enforce the patents is administered by an
 organization dedicating to accelerating the development and use of open source
 software. Developers can be assured that those patents will not be enforced
 against them on open source software.
     "Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to
 work together on open source," said Linus Torvalds. "Making it easier for
 companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in
 a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with
 the threat."
     While still in the planning stages, the OSDL patent commons project will
 initially involve the following:
     -- A library and database that aggregates patent pledges made by
        companies. The library will also aggregate other legal solutions, such
        as indemnification programs offered by vendors of open source software.
     -- A collection of software patent licenses and software patents (issued
        and pending) held for the benefit of the open source community.
     More details on the OSDL patent commons project will be announced in the
 coming months.
     "OSDL is the ideal steward for such an important legal initiative as the
 patent commons project," said Eben Moglen, chair of the Software Freedom Law
 Center. "No matter what your stand on software patents, and I oppose them, I
 call on developers to contribute to the OSDL patent commons project because
 there is strength in numbers and when individual contributions are collected
 together it creates a protective haven where developers can innovate without
     About Open Source Development Labs (OSDL)
     OSDL -- home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux -- is dedicated to
 accelerating the growth and adoption of Linux in the enterprise. Founded in
 2000 and supported by a global consortium of major Linux customers and IT
 industry leaders, OSDL is a nonprofit organization that provides
 state-of-the-art computing and test facilities available to developers around
 the world. With offices in China, Europe, Japan and the United States, OSDL
 sponsors legal and development projects to advance open source software as
 well as initiatives for Linux in telecommunications, in the data center and on
 enterprise desktops. Visit OSDL on the Web at http://www.osdl.org/ .
     NOTE:  OSDL is a trademark of Open Source Development Labs, Inc. Linux is
 a trademark of Linus Torvalds. Third party marks and brands are the property
 of their respective holders.

SOURCE Open Source Development Labs