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 area." 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