Google pledged that it "will not sue any users, distributors or developers" who have implemented open-source versions of "MapReduce," (computing model for processing large data sets) "unless first attacked."
The implementation including for example Apache Hadoop infringe upon 10 Google patents. Google says, over time, Google intend to expand the set of its patents covered by the pledge to other technologies.
This move dubbed as "Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge", is meant to "serve as a model for the industry, and we're encouraging other patent holders to adopt the pledge or a similar initiative," wrote Duane Valz, Senior Patent Counsel.
Adding, "We hope the OPN Pledge will provide a model for companies looking to put their own patents into the service of open-source software, which continues to enable amazing innovation," Valz said.
Google believe OPN Pledge will serve following number of advantages:
- "Transparency. Patent holders determine exactly which patents and related technologies they wish to pledge, offering developers and the public transparency around patent rights.
- Breadth. Protections under the OPN Pledge are not confined to a specific project or open- source copyright license. (Google contributes a lot of code under such licenses, like the Apache or GNU GPL licenses, but their patent protections are limited.) The OPN Pledge, by contrast, applies to any open-source software--past, present or future--that might rely on the pledged patents.
- Defensive protection. The Pledge may be terminated, but only if a party brings a patent suit against Google products or services, or is directly profiting from such litigation.
- Durability. The Pledge remains in force for the life of the patents, even if we transfer them," Valz writes.