OSDL Launches Online Patent Commons Reference Library

OSDL Hosts Online Patent Commons Library Supported by Industry Leaders

Including CA, IBM, Intel, Novell, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems to Help

Protect Open Source Software Innovation

Nov 15, 2005, 00:00 ET from Open Source Development Labs

    BEAVERTON, Ore., Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Open Source Development Labs
 (OSDL), a global consortium dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux(R),
 today announced the launch of its online patent commons reference library, the
 foundation of its Patent Commons Project. The Project's goal is to provide
 greater confidence for developers and customers of all open source software.
     The site, www.patentcommons.org, hosts searchable databases containing
 more than 500 patents pledged to date and more than a dozen technical
 standards supported by patent pledges and covenants.  The library is freely
 available to developers, users and vendors, where they can quickly view
 information about patents and technology pledges benefiting open source
 software and standards.
     "The OSDL Patent Commons Project is an important first step in helping
 customers, vendors and the development community understand the different
 commitments that have been made and how they work to reduce the chances of
 patent litigation," said Stuart Cohen, CEO of OSDL. "The Project is focused on
 documenting the growing number of pledges and other legal solutions directed
 at the software patent issue, so that developers can innovate and collaborate
 as free as possible from litigation."
     The Patent Commons website will catalogue existing patent commitments from
 companies and individuals who wish to retain ownership of their patents, and
 will provide information about different types of pledges and covenants and
 how they work.  In the coming months, the site will expand to include other
 legal solutions that benefit the open source community, including open source
 licenses, indemnification programs and information for organizations and
 individuals who wish to contribute to the commons.
     The OSDL Patent Commons Project has already rallied the support of many
 industry leaders, including CA, IBM, Intel, Novell, Red Hat, and Sun
 Microsystems. The Lab welcomes other IT vendors, corporations, organizations,
 government agencies and individuals to participate.
     "CA is committed to fostering innovation in the Open Source community so
 that users can reap all the potential personal, social and business benefits
 that technology can offer," said Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president of
 technology at CA.  "We are supporting and participating in the Patents Common
 because we believe it will enable developers to fully and appropriately
 leverage each other's innovations, while respecting parties' intellectual
 property rights."
     "OSDL provides a natural point of entry to the Commons.  We are confident
 that the Project will serve the needs of developers and customers by providing
 fair, objective and easily accessible information about the burgeoning
 Commons," said Jim Stallings, vice president, Intellectual Property &
 Standards, IBM.
     "As a founding member of OSDL, Intel is committed to helping customers
 make informed decisions around their choices in computing platforms," said
 Richard Wirt, Vice President, Senior Fellow, and General Manager, Software and
 Solutions Group of Intel. "OSDL is in a unique position to provide a trusted
 clearinghouse where enterprise customers and developers can find
 vendor-neutral information about open source software and intellectual
 property that can help them ensure that their decisions are based on the most
 complete and up-to-date information."
     "Customers want freedom of choice in making decisions about technology
 solutions," said David Patrick, vice president and general manager for Linux,
 Open Sources Platforms and Services at Novell. "They should be able to make
 their purchase decisions based on technical merits, security, quality of
 service and value, not concerns over intellectual property ownership. The OSDL
 Patent Commons project will provide greater confidence to developers and
 customers that the open source solutions they are deploying are safe from
 patent challenges."
     "We are happy to see OSDL's Patent Commons online reference library go
 live," said Mark Webbink, Sr. Vice President, Red Hat. "As the first open
 source vendor to make its patents available to the open source community, Red
 Hat views steps such as the one OSDL has taken with the Commons and Red Hat's
 creation of the Fedora Foundation as providing developers, vendors and end
 users with the ability to be confident and bold in their development efforts."
     "Sun applauds the work of the OSDL Patent Commons project and its library
 of patent pledges and non-assertion covenants," said Simon Phipps, Chief Open
 Source Officer, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "As the largest commercial code
 contributor to the various open source communities, Sun is well aware of the
 many obstacles these communities face due to the uncertainties that surround
 today's software patents, which neither patent pools nor targeted pledges
 really solve. This project offers a concrete and important step in the right
 direction, as it will help all open source communities."
     About the OSDL Patent Commons Project
     With increasing frequency, institutions, companies, and inventors wish to
 signal formally to the open source software industry and community that
 software patents they hold are not a threat to the development, distribution
 or use of open source software or open standards. Patent pledges and
 covenants -- legally enforceable promises not to enforce patents under certain
 terms and conditions -- eliminate the need for individual agreements and
 simplify the process by which access to patented technology can be granted.
 The Patent Commons Project catalogues the patent pledges and covenants in a
 central location and facilitates their use by the development community and
 others, reduces the number of issued software patents that are a threat to
 open source and open standards, and documents the boundaries of the "common
     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