The Open Innovation Network, the last line of defense of Free Software in case of patent attacks, started a cooperation with Oracle. Some of Oracle’s patents will therefore become available to the FLOSS community.
The idea behind the Open Innovation Network is clear: to collect important patents related to FLOSS. Everyone can use these patents for free – as long as this person does not attack the Linux eco system with patent threats.
The list of patents isn’t very long but is said to contain several patents of a strategic importance. Especially the e-commerce patents donated by Novell were described as very critical to everyone dealing with the internet.
Oracle now licensed the patents of the OIN. However, it is not yet sure if Oracle gives back any patents or supports the group with anything additional.
Still, with this deal Oracle technically states that they will not sue any Linux developer – also not their database competitors like MySQL or PostgreSQL. And since Oracle is said to have a quite large amount of patents this adds a bit more security in case you are a Free Software developer.
This brings us to Microsoft – the last big player with a huge patent portfolio which haven’t done anything with the OIN. Yes, they had their contract with Novell (and Novell still has to do some work to become friends again with some people of the community), but there have been nothing else.
Still, the Oracle move may remind MS that they are not the only ones having patents – and that they should be a bit more careful when they shout about who violates IP.