Google announced today that the company is officially joining the Open Invention Network (OIN) by becoming a licensee. OIN licensees agree not to assert their patents against the Linux software ecosystem and in exchange gain royalty-free access to the OIN's collection of over 100 patents on critical technologies.
Google has invested a considerable amount of money in a wide variety of open-source software development projects in the past, perhaps most notably through the its Summer of Code program. Google also makes extensive use of open-source technologies internally, so it isn't particularly surprising that the company is willing to make a cross-licensing agreement with the OIN.
Google has nothing to lose and much to gain by entering into an agreement that protects Linux while also giving the company unfettered access to OIN patents. "Linux plays a vital role at Google, and we're strongly committed to supporting the Linux developer community," Google open-source programs manager Chris DiBona said in a statement. "We believe that by becoming an Open Invention Network licensee, we can encourage Linux development and foster innovation in a way that benefits everyone. We're proud to participate in OIN's mission to help Linux thrive."
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