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Linux Patent Protection Network Lures Facebook, HP

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the radar-light-keeps-blinking dept.

Android 106

jbrodkin writes "Facebook, HP, Rackspace, Juniper, Fujitsu and dozens of other organizations have joined a group building a defensive patent portfolio to protect Linux-using members from potential lawsuits. The Open Invention Network (OIN) — founded in 2005 by IBM, NEC, Novell, Phillips, Red Hat and Sony — has acquired 300 Linux-related patents and licenses to 2,000 in total in a bid to protect the Linux community from intellectual property lawsuits. The group added 74 new members this year and is giving a leadership role to Google, which is fighting lawsuits targeting Linux-based Android."

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106 comments

Irony (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 years ago | (#35882704)

SCEA has it.

Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883268)

I just tried 11.04 and that desktop ... lulz

Re:Irony (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884116)

I'd laugh except I have no idea what the fuck SCEA is. Post some more inside jokes, or jokes that require research to 'get'. Or how about stop posting acronyms that not everyone knows... unless of course you are just doing it to show how smart you are. In that case... ohhhh look at the clever fuckwad.

Re:Irony (2)

bami (1376931) | about 3 years ago | (#35884208)

Sony Computer Entertainment America.

eg: The guys who sue everyone when it's not to their liking. You want them to have a whole portfolio of patents used in Linux? That's like asking an alcoholic to take care of a bar while the owner is going on some random quest.

Re:Irony (1)

mehemiah (971799) | about 3 years ago | (#35884824)

don't feed trolls. If he was the kind of member slashdot wants, he wouldn't have complained and just look it up. we dont need lazy people who walk into conversations and ask whats going on.

Re:Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35887462)

And we don't need fucktards who post stuff people have to look up to understand. What is the point in that moron. If you want to share information, share it. Don't post stuff that people don't understand because you are too fucking lazy to post the full meaning and your poor tired fingers are only capable of the acronym. We don't need that kind of bullshit. And we don't need fucktards who think that sharing information means posting obfuscated shit and then then tell people to look up what it means when it isn't that much harder to just tell us in the first place. Talk about fucking lazy.

Re:Irony (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | about 3 years ago | (#35890160)

Oh GTFO. SCEA was pretty obvious to anyone who has a clue, and for the rest of you there's Yahoo News. What we don't need is you angry little pissants raging because you're forced you to open another tab in your browser.

SONY ????? (0)

kenshin33 (1694322) | about 3 years ago | (#35882706)

Sony is in the list ??? linux is doomed !!

Re:SONY ????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882876)

FTA:

...Sony — has acquired 300 Linux-related patents and licenses to 2,000 in total in a bid to protect the Linux community from intellectual property lawsuits.

Almost spit up my drink there.

Re:SONY ????? (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | about 3 years ago | (#35883078)

isn't that like the mafia protecting local stores ????????

Re:SONY ????? (2)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 3 years ago | (#35883718)

No, not really. Try another analogy, I'm sure you can figure one out that paints Sony as evil.

With the local stores analogy: it's more like the local stores banding together to fight the mafia. Just because some in the group of local stores have morally questionable motives doesn't mean they're part of the mafia. Sony partakes in some shady business practices, but I don't believe extortion is one of them. Funneling money into satellite companies to sue your competitors on bogus claims to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt within the marketplace is extortion. That deserves a mafia analogy. Kind of like bribing government officials and interfering with standards boards is akin to how the mafia bribes government officials and tampers juries.

Everything Sony's done, even the rootkit, seems to be things where the executive behind the decision actually thought the action was justifiable. That's a lot different than doing something inexcusable while aware of the fact that it's inexcusable and potentially illegal. Sony's like that shop owner that won't let kids in the store after some kid broke something and then ends up confused when their sales plummet. They don't have a top-down evil policy like some companies (MS, Facebook, Oracle). They just seem to make a lot of inept decisions and end up back-pedaling as a result. That's my perspective, at least.

Re:SONY ????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884188)

All executives think their decisions are justifiable.

Re:SONY ????? (1)

drb226 (1938360) | about 3 years ago | (#35884240)

Everything Sony's done, even the rootkit, seems to be things where the executive behind the decision actually thought the action was justifiable before the law

ftfy. Did they honestly think it was "justifiable" before their customers' expectations of privacy and security? They had to have at least some inkling that customers might not approve.

Tangentially: didn't know wikipedia had an article on it. Sony BMG copy protection rootkit scandal [wikipedia.org]

Re:SONY ????? (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | about 3 years ago | (#35884340)

the mobs also think that is is justified to break some bones to set an example or to get some cash back. Every action is justifiable in the eyes of the person taking it in the heat of the moment.

Re:SONY ????? (1)

segin (883667) | about 3 years ago | (#35885952)

Except the mafia usually did provide some protection, after all, a failed business can't pay it's protection monies.

Finally, the year of Linux (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 3 years ago | (#35882734)

When so many cronies get behind linux, all the cronies in your office won't mind using it.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 years ago | (#35882776)

While humorous you are absolutely correct.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 3 years ago | (#35887376)

In harsh economic times, hardware manufacturers look for savings and one of the biggest savings possible in software licences. You can try shoving that cost of to retailers and wholesalers but at the end of the day when it comes to end users dollars, making it available to the customer in a fully functioning state in the most cost effective way possible can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Once manufacturers go open source on the software, it makes it a simpler lets compete on hardware marketing playing field and wipe out software licensing costs.

It was always inevitable, which was why smart software companies made a push to become internet companies when they were cashed up (some failed at it and are still failing) but, it would have been really stupid not to make the change and even stupider to claim you should never had tried it just because it made you look incompetent.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | about 3 years ago | (#35883756)

When so many cronies get behind linux, all the cronies in your office won't mind using it.

They already don't and many of them will have a Linux-based phone, router, or gadget. Or don't mind whether an internet service is Linux-hosted.

Linux found major acceptance years ago. The traditional desktop is still struggling to obtain market share, but the reason is not that people mind using Linux. When my non-technical friends or relatives use my laptop at home (guest account, of course) they don't mind the Linux Mint interface and have in fact not once complained or even as much as bothered to mention things were a bit different.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | about 3 years ago | (#35883984)

The reason Linux is still struggling with desktop acceptance is that Windows has improved 10-fold the last few years. Windows 7 is pretty much the most solid Desktop OS I've seen over the last 20 years and far too many OS's to count.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (2)

nschubach (922175) | about 3 years ago | (#35884552)

Windows 7 has been less stellar on a machine that I had XP running fine on. I upgraded to an SSD and put Win7Pro64 on it, and have had nothing but issues.

My main complaint is with my sound card causing my machine to lock up hard if I'm launching/exiting a game and talking on Ventrilo at the same time.

I have a RAID array and Windows 7 keeps taking ownership of files inside folders on that drive causing issues when auto-patchers try to update content on that drive. (Permission denied!) Having to take ownership of the drive's folders every time the program updates is starting to REALLY get on my nerves.

I told Windows Update to ask me before applying updates and somehow it automatically applied a recent patch without asking.

There's also a curious condition occurring when I copy GBs of data off the SSD onto the RAID (and vice versa, but I know write speeds on SSD are not stellar) whereby Windows file copy slows to about 4KB/sec after 5 minutes. Canceling and restarting the copy where it left off speeds it up for about 5 minutes when it starts to crawl again.

I have none of those issues on my Linux partition on the same SSD (though, the games I run on Linux are not as resource intensive... so that issue cannot be compared, but the sole reason I have Windows is gaming.)

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885884)

I'm trying windows 7 as my primary desktop after a decade of Linux and six months in I can certainly say I've played a lot more video games.

As for windows 7, it does the job fine for the most part, but... every now and then the windows audio service will lock up (audio stops), which causes winamp to stop responding if winamp was playing at the time. According to the Services app, It's running fine, but restarting the audio service gets it going again anyway... except I'm running as an unprivileged user so I have to switch user to the admin, since it appears that the ctrl-shift-click run as admin trick doesn't appear to work in the control panel and I can't right click "view local services" to get a Run As option. The only other issue I have is when I plug a different device in to a USB port, windows 7 locks hard and requires a reboot. Once the system is rebooted I can unplug and plug the same device in to the same port, but I have to reboot the computer if I want to unplug my cell phone and plug in my USB gamepad and again when I want to switch back.

One other issue I've had is that the jumplists are insanely useful but while I can remove things from the start menu and empty the jumplist of things on the start menu, I can't seem to prevent specific programs from appearing in the startmenu with their jumplist, only disable it entirely. I solved this by creating a separate guest account and password protecting mine so that in the event of an unexpected visit, my mother doesn't hit start and see hotsex.avi up front and center.

The last issue, though, is what proves to me that microsoft spent the last 10 years making windows shinier rather than working right. Despite the fact that I created my normal user with permission to apply updates (goddamn finally, no more asking granny to hack arcane group policy settings! XP was totally "not ready for the desktop") and I get most updates just fine, a while back updates stopped happening so I finally logged in as admin and found that service pack 1 was in the queue (a couple of weeks after the release) and for whatever reason it never bothered to let my normal user with permission to apply updates know.

The rest are just annoyances. For instance, why can't UAC tell us what permissions an application is trying to get when it does something to trip UAC? How am I supposed to make an informed decision of whether I should give an application administrator access if I don't know whether it's just badly written and trying to scribble on some random readonly C:\ location or whether it's malicious and wants to replace explorer.exe? Also, msconfig.exe needs to be updated to look in the Task Scheduler for "at log on" tasks (along with all the other locations it looks for things that are being run at startup/login). I probably sat clicking through UAC prompts for a week while pouring through the registry trying to figure out how my motherboard driver had installed all the useless notification icon crap that needed admin access in order to tell me that my desktop was not on battery power and that the power saving level was set to "normal".

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (1)

Izeickl (529058) | about 3 years ago | (#35887070)

While MS can be blamed for many things don't forget the manufactures also, is it win7 fault your machine locks or shitty drivers provided for your sound card etc? I run win7ultimate64 with Intel SSD and the only problems I have had was after upgrading my gfx card games would stutter and every so often huge drop in frame rates, installing newer beta version nvidia drivers cleared it up.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | about 3 years ago | (#35886000)

The efficiency of a new windows release depends on the fear of competition. Vista being the notable exception, but it's better to consider it the beta of win7 rushed out not to lose too much edge.
Besides, the only win7 machine I see doesn't seem to outperform debian sid, except I guess games. Games are probably the biggest selling point for bundled windows licenses for homes.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886324)

The reason any OS has an issue with acceptance has to due with an early 80's marketing decision to flood the global market with windows preemptively. Don't fool yourself into thinking that it is by any means superior to any other.

Windows:
Good for Games
Crap for Security
Crap for Stability
Crap for support
Crap for any major media editing.

Linux
Mediocre for popular gaming for now
Excellent for Security
Excellent for Stability
Excellent for Support
Crap for any major media editing

Mac
Crap for Gaming
Excellent for Security
Excellent for Stability
Excellent for Support
Excellent for major media editing.

That's not me having a fan moment, that's a bare bones fact. Sure, there is a competition for usability going on and compatibility, at that same juncture, had the market not been flooded all those years ago putting people to conform to the design, we might all well be using Macs and making fun of Windows as an inferior OS trying so very hard.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | about 3 years ago | (#35886792)

The reason any OS has an issue with acceptance has to due with an early 80's marketing decision to flood the global market with windows preemptively. Don't fool yourself into thinking that it is by any means superior to any other.

Windows:
Good for Games
Crap for Security
Crap for Stability
Crap for support
Crap for any major media editing.

Linux
Mediocre for popular gaming for now
Excellent for Security
Excellent for Stability
Excellent for Community Support
Crap for any major media editing

Mac
Crap for Gaming
Crap for Security
Excellent for Stability
Excellent for Support only for Apple products
Excellent for major media editing.

FTFY

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35890850)

The reason Linux is still struggling with desktop acceptance is that Windows has improved 10-fold the last few years. Windows 7 is pretty much the most solid Desktop OS I've seen over the last 20 years and far too many OS's to count.

And that improvement in Windows can be attributed to Linux and Apple, Without them MS would still be selling a 32 bit win 95 derived OS...just because they could.

Re:Finally, the year of Linux (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 3 years ago | (#35884114)

Sure, I run desktop Linux as my main O/S, it's so much better than Windows or OSX!

But there has been a problem with Linux in a lot of businesses because of the Microsoft patent-posturing (among others) so this will add the legitimacy that pointy-haired bosses usually need to sanctify things.

Sony (1)

cranil (1983560) | about 3 years ago | (#35882748)

Sorry if I'm rude but, what the fuck is Sony doing there??

Re:Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883178)

It's a trap! /ackbar

Re:Sony (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 years ago | (#35883218)

Sorry if I'm rude but, what the fuck is Sony doing there??

Looking out for their own interests.

Specifically in response to organizations like SCO who threatened to sue the users of Linux -- don't worry, Sony still doesn't give a crap about your rights. They also still don't care about your ability to run Linux on your Playstation.

This is all about them.

This is an outrage. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882760)

This is an outrageous abuse of a dominant market position and a violation of the free market. These companies (HP, IBM, Intel, Google, etc) are essentially forming a CARTEL against Microsoft and Apple to try to destroy them using patents rather than competing with products that people, you know, actually want to buy (whch rules out lin-sux). Cartel's are ILLEGAL in the USA and this should be stopped in its tracks.

Why is the N-Obama government allowing these criminal companies to attack and undermine the most successful American companies? When will N-Obama stand up against this kind of market abuse?

Re:This is an outrage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882842)

What's the N for? Is it for "nigger"?

Re:This is an outrage. (1)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | about 3 years ago | (#35883582)

Nincompoop. DUH.
Tisk tisk only a racist would automatically associate N with nigger.

Re:This is an outrage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884484)

People who annoy you:

N_ggers

Re:This is an outrage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882884)

What a funny parody of a stupid USA:ian racist free market loon. You're not for real are you?

You're just too good to be true.

Re:This is an outrage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882928)

The day you stop being a racist troll.

Re:This is an outrage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882982)

I'll tell you what, I'll personally convince Obama to break up this patent pool as soon as you learn the meaning of the following terms:
abuse
dominant
free market
cartel
criminal
attack

Re:This is an outrage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883328)

what a feckin twat

Re:This is an outrage. (4, Informative)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | about 3 years ago | (#35883752)

attack and undermine the most successful American companies

You paint it as a foreign attack. Umm, let's see what we have here:
- Hewlett-Packard: American, headquartered at Palo Alto, CA
- IBM: American, headquartered at Armonk, New York (Trivia: HAL of 2001: Space Odyssey was named by transposing IBM one letter back through the alphabet)
- Intel: American, headquartered at Santa Clara, CA
- Google: American, headquartered at Mountain View, CA
- NEC: Japanese
- Novell: multinational, headquartered at Waltham, Massachusetts
- Red Hat: American, headquartered at Raleigh, North Carolina

Are we seeing a pattern here? It's not like the US as a whole has anything to lose out of this, given that both the "attackers" and the "defenders" are American...

forming a CARTEL against Microsoft and Apple to try to destroy them using patents rather than competing with products that people, you know, actually want to buy

Again, let's see what we have here.

Apple is suing Samsung for the Galaxy series of Android-powered phones. Reason: they look too much like the iPhone. This didn't come as much of a surprise to me after seeing the Galaxy S, Galaxy S Mk.II and the still Samsung-made Nexus S trounce the iPhone in reviews.
Microsoft was trounced long ago by Apple in the smartphone market, after they failed to make a snappy comeback to the iPhone Mk.I. Windows Phone 7 came too late and just doesn't cut it in the face of Android and iOS together.
And neither one is better than the other, for using patents equally frivolously to make attacks on one another and stifle competition, in your analogy, by being cartels unto themselves by virtue of their sheer size. In this regard, they deserve to have the book thrown at them using one of IBM's patents: they patented patents [tomshardware.com] ! It doesn't get any better than this, you gotta admit that...

forming a CARTEL

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

FYI: "A cartel is a formal (explicit) agreement among competing firms. It is a formal organization of producers and manufacturers that agree to fix prices, marketing, and production.", according to Arthur Sullivan and Steven M. Sheffrin. The OIN is an association to pool patents, and protect one another from abuse. I see no evidence of fixing prices, marketing strategy or production strategy here. What I see is that now, instead of the Microsoft/Apple ogres going up against several dwarves, they get to face a single ogre trumping them in size, given that the strength of an IT company these days is measured by the number of patents it owns, no matter how frivolous they are.

When will N-Obama stand up against this kind of market abuse?

He won't. Simply because it's not his job. According to the Constitution of the United States of America (I dare you to find a higher law than that in the States!),
"The Congress shall have Power [...] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;"
I think the IT trade pretty much fits those two criteria, even if it's not actually commerce, nor "market abuse" the way you paint it. Regardless, if it's market, the Congress will regulate, not the President.

Trust them as far as you can throw them (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#35882772)

And how do we know that they're not simply joining up to see what others have there, to make it easier for them to win IP lawsuits?

Ideas like these are IMHO always bad. Sooner or later, every company or organization goes under, and when it does, the assets are sold. To someone who won't have to follow the original intents and promises, like a patent troll.
Promises are worth exactly as much as the paper they aren't written on.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (2)

walshy007 (906710) | about 3 years ago | (#35882822)

Contract tend to fix that, since even if a company is bought out they generally still have to honour the company they've purchased's contracts.

That being said most companies would never restrict themselves that much intentionally.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | about 3 years ago | (#35883036)

I would be more concerned about the time when they start going the other direction. It seems like every "defensive" patent becomes offensive eventually.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (4, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | about 3 years ago | (#35883132)

how do we know that they're not simply joining up to see what others have there[?]

Patents, by their very nature, aren't secret, and OIN makes no secret of which patents [openinventionnetwork.com] are in their pool (it would rather defeat the purpose if they did), so I can't imagine what it is that you think they're going to learn by joining.

Promises are worth exactly as much as the paper they aren't written on.

Well, first of all, these promises are written on paper, and second of all, if a promise is made publicly enough, it doesn't matter whether it's written on paper, and as for your final fear about companies dissolving and assets being sold, the doctrines of promissory estoppel [thefreedictionary.com] and laches [wikipedia.org] would prevent any direct harm from such an event. A new asset owner couldn't just suddenly repudiate the promises made by the previous owner; they would have to give proper notice and allow those affected by the previous promise time to deal with the changing circumstances, at the very least.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884820)

>Well, first of all, these promises are written on paper
Our UK deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave a promise pretty publicly and written on a piece of paper, and he still fucked us over.

http://liberalburblings.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/20100907_nus_photo_w.jpg [liberalburblings.co.uk]

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886638)

See: "Read my lips: no new taxes" [wikimedia.org] . It's basically why no presidential candidate will make specific policy promises, or at least any that anyone seriously believes.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 3 years ago | (#35883188)

And how do we know that they're not simply joining up to see what others have there, to make it easier for them to win IP lawsuits?

The members of OIN are not allowed to use their patents against other members. Similarly, if a member joins OIN and then leaves OIN, they will still be fighting against thousands of patents and would only assure their own destruction by going to court. Ie. your scenario simply doesn't fly.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 3 years ago | (#35883628)

The members of OIN are not allowed to use their patents against other members.

First of all, that is only true for the disclosed patents, not any other patents they may have.

And second, it's a worthless promise.
Say I run BigCompany, and find through my association that my patent #12345678 could smash AnotherCompany and get us millions. I transfer my patent to BigCompany Holding, our parent company, who then in turn transfers it to BigCompany Law, another subsidary. They successfully sue AnotherCompany, and I get a big fat bonus from BigCompany Holding.
And I've done nothing wrong - my company didn't sue anyone, and I don't even hold the patent anymore.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (1)

WeatherGod (1726770) | about 3 years ago | (#35885252)

The members of OIN are not allowed to use their patents against other members.

First of all, that is only true for the disclosed patents, not any other patents they may have.

And second, it's a worthless promise. Say I run BigCompany, and find through my association that my patent #12345678 could smash AnotherCompany and get us millions. I transfer my patent to BigCompany Holding, our parent company, who then in turn transfers it to BigCompany Law, another subsidary. They successfully sue AnotherCompany, and I get a big fat bonus from BigCompany Holding. And I've done nothing wrong - my company didn't sue anyone, and I don't even hold the patent anymore.

I don't think it works that way. It is more likely that the company would be bound by contract to sell (or transfer) the OIN agreement with the patent. Of course, I don't know if that is the case, but given that your case requires everyone else to have completely incompetent lawyers, I highly doubt such an action would be possible.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (1)

Xtifr (1323) | about 3 years ago | (#35885330)

I already pointed out the doctrine of estoppel once in response to your earlier post. Since you apparently can't or won't read I'll simply say that not only are you wrong in claiming that this would work (BigCompanyLaw would still be estopped from asserting the patents), but if you did try to sue, and evidence turned up during discovery that you had done this deliberately to try to hurt AnotherCompany, you could find yourself facing charges of fraud, extortion and racketeering.

Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about 3 years ago | (#35883508)

And how do we know that they're not simply joining up to see what others have there, to make it easier for them to win IP lawsuits?

Most patent portfolios come with irrevocable commitments to allow any patent they submit to the portfolio to be used freely forever.
This one apparently DOES NOT have such a commitment.

From their Agreement:

1.1 Subject to Section 1.2(b), OIN, grants to You and Your Subsidiaries a royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive, non-transferable license under OIN Patents to make, have made, use, import, and Distribute any products or services. In addition to the foregoing and without limitation thereof, with respect only to the Linux System, the license granted herein includes the right to engage in activities that in the absence of this Agreement would constitute inducement to infringe or contributory infringement (or infringement under any other analogous legal doctrine in the applicable jurisdiction).

Sounds all laudable and such, BUT:

There are still some worrisome features of this organization, such as the fact that the FSF is NOT part of it, and they are really granting cross licensing only to other members. Further, they have built a pretty massive escape clause into their License Agreement [openinventionnetwork.com] in Section 2.

A careful read of their cross license agreement suggest this could turn ugly after enough patents are in the system which also find their way into Linux.

The FAQ is here: http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/about_faq.php [openinventionnetwork.com]
The membership is here: http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php [openinventionnetwork.com] (just about every Distro you ever heard of is represented).

Change The Law, Not the Lawsuits! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882912)

Defensive patents are just a way that companies agree to break the law together. I would much rather see the companies agree to CHANGE the law together. Like, for example, shorten the patent lifespan, or how about, make trivial ideas unpatentable?

Re:Change The Law, Not the Lawsuits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35882936)

or stop the silliness where an idea is considered an invention.

Re:Change The Law, Not the Lawsuits! (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 3 years ago | (#35883376)

or stop the silliness where an idea is considered an invention.

Good idea, you should patent that!

Google? (1, Interesting)

PickyH3D (680158) | about 3 years ago | (#35883104)

The company that has spent so much time taking from Linux and then leaving it dry? Google is too busy to commit changes back from Android, and they're all-to comfortable keeping Honeycomb (Android 3.0) closed source.

Re:Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883938)

Curious why you would want Android related changes in the Linux kernel. Few exotic uses of Linux finds their alterations in Linus's tree. Embedded forks are similarly shunned quite often. Furthermore Google isn't exactly known for their architecture prowess wrt operating systems.

Honeycomb is unfortunate but I think if you look at the ROM makers you'll find there was never any interest there to begin with. Insiders have known since January that Ice Cream was the actual future of Android. Honeycomb is now a massive failure and no one wants anything to do with it.

Re:Google? (1)

Snarky McButtface (1542357) | about 3 years ago | (#35884586)

Asus has released [asus.com] the Honeycomb source.

Re:Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885124)

That link appears to be just the kernel code, which I believe is the only part they are required to release.

Re:Google? (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 3 years ago | (#35887152)

The only Android related source code I see there is:

Eee Pad Kernel Code for Android OS

That is not the source code to Android - it is the source to the Linux kernel, which is GPL so they have to release it.

Re:Google? (1)

ProfessorKaos64 (1772382) | about 3 years ago | (#35885334)

Maybe if it WAS closed source. I am seriously sick of people confusing this. When Google RELEASES the code AND THEN doesn't allow you to modify it , or keeps all development in house, THEN its closed source. The main reason they did this , is Honeycomb 3.0 was designed for tablets, not small phones, do you want it to run like crap? Having the touch screen calibration and pixel sizing horrible? ....yep

Re:Google? (1)

Rennt (582550) | about 3 years ago | (#35887160)

That excuse doesn't fly with me. Why shouldn't I be allowed to buy a phone running 3.0 or a tablet running 2.3 if I want to?

Apparently this is all because the Galaxy Tab came out with a "non-tablet" OS, and Google didn't approve. I say to hell with them. It was/is an awesome device anyway.

Dr. Horrible Says It Best: (2)

Jaqenn (996058) | about 3 years ago | (#35883172)

Billy:It's a symptom. You're treating a symptom, and the disease rages on, consumes the human race. The fish rots from the head, as they say. So my thinking is, why not cut off the head?
Penny: Of the human race?
Billy: It's not a perfect metaphor, but I'm talking about an overhaul of the system.

Re:Dr. Horrible Says It Best: (1)

hoggoth (414195) | about 3 years ago | (#35883466)

So your solution to an out of control patent system is... to build a freeze-ray?

Re:Dr. Horrible Says It Best: (1)

coolmadsi (823103) | about 3 years ago | (#35891504)

So your solution to an out of control patent system is... to build a freeze-ray?

Sorry, the freeze-ray is patented

Unimpressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883190)

So in 6 years they have acquired 2000 patents. Microsoft filed 3.7K last year, IBM filed over 5k and Samsung did over 4.5K.

I'm under impressed. Seems like a pretty small pool compared to everybody else out there.

Re:Unimpressive (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#35883338)

These are patents related to Linux. Are the ones you speak of ALSO related to Linux? And filing patents is not the same as HAVING patents. Of the numbers you mention, what portion of them are approved? (I have no idea! Do you?)

Re:Unimpressive (1)

WNight (23683) | about 3 years ago | (#35883576)

Of the numbers you mention, what portion of them are approved?

120% of them. Fridays are double-patent days.

Seriously though, the system "works" by approving anything where you don't color outside the lines, reasonable or not.

hooray software patents (3)

jank1887 (815982) | about 3 years ago | (#35883412)

and once again we are reminded why software patents need to go the way of the dodo bird.

"Lures"? WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883442)

WTF is a loaded word like "lures" doing in the title? Has Taco decided to outsource headline-writing to Steve Ballmer and/or Faux Nooz?

One tiny detail the article fails to mention (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883464)

Aside from the irony of the OIN's raison d'etre (though like it or not, the current legal system is what it is): the patent pool only applies to a fairly specific definition of a "Linux system".
Case in point, both Google and Oracle are both members...
Don't get me wrong, I think the OIN is a sound initiative. However it's seems very naive to brush over its limitations.

How much control does this give patent holders? (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about 3 years ago | (#35883652)

This is an honest question, does this give the patent holders control over the future direction of Linux? ie. patent holders have ability to sue for patent infringement if there's something they don't like or it doesn't go the direction they want?

Re:How much control does this give patent holders? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884144)

Minimal to nil. This is an arrangement among equals, they don't get to turn around and fuck each other over when its convenient.

It's sad that this is neccessary (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35883698)

These days, any company or software project without a portfolio of defensive patents to defend itself with is just lawsuit bait. The second you get any success, it's just a matter of time before the crippling patent lawsuits come. It's ironic that patents, which were created to *promote* innovation, have become a weapon that now *stifles* innovation.

An successful indie software developer with no patents is like a meekly 12-year-old walking through Compton with a "I have a lot of cash in my wallet" sign on his back.

Re:It's sad that this is neccessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884516)

These days, any company or software project without a portfolio of defensive patents to defend itself with is just lawsuit bait. The second you get any success, it's just a matter of time before the crippling patent lawsuits come. It's ironic that patents, which were created to *promote* innovation, have become a weapon that now *stifles* innovation.

An successful indie software developer with no patents is like a meekly 12-year-old walking through Compton with a "I have a lot of cash in my wallet" sign on his back.

Um no. A successful indie developer is like a 12 year old from Compton walking through Beverly Hills realizing they still have a long, long way to go. There's a reason you see billion dollar companies getting sued for patent infringement, it costs a ton of money and time to bring a case. You won't see indie's nickel and dimed over software patents very often because just bringing the case to court costs more than the potential profits to be obtained.

  Defensive patents also don't work that way. The reason you have defensive patent pools isn't just to have patents to smack back at potential trolls, its too keep the IP of failed companies under wraps. Most successful patent trolls don't make anything so they don't have anything to be sued for infringing. They pick up IP cheap at auctions and see if they can find a way to get some licensing fees out of it. When cases go public its because the demands are too great or because its actual competitors fighting over a market. Samsung didn't get sued because Apple looked at its patent portfolio and thought "lawsuit bait". They got sued because they put their balls further out on the table than anyone else was willing to go.

Posting anonymously because IAAPL. I'm perplexed by the tone of so many of these comments that seem out of touch with the way the business world operates. 100% of the regulatory landscape, including the patent system is just part of the business environment and the kind of thing that you just work around as much as possible. As far as promoting or stifling innovation goes, the only promotion that the patent system considers for the first twenty years is the inventor. That's the way it was designed, although I personally it is much too long a term.

Problem, patent trolls that don't produce products (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35883764)

This only works against corporate lawyers trying to justify their jobs. Against a licensing company it wouldn't have any effect since they don't produce anything. Sure you might go after the people behind it but it's far too easy to hide. Nowadays companies don't really hold their own patents anyway, they transfer them to a licensing company overseas to avoid higher income taxes. Those holding companies are the real company while the brands are just mules. Big companies are doing this automatically to limit negative publicity from suing other companies.

----

The only real solution is to junk the current patent system and replace it with a merit system. Far, far, far more money would be produced in all involved economies. But it's the bread and butter of lawyers and that's the fallback job of at least a third of politicians and judges.

Patents are suppose to inspire innovation. If we replaced the current system with a board of experts that can describe products and solutions that are needed then we would have a solution (pun intended). Further don't have fixed patent terms, let them be longer and shorter and base them on the merit of the challenge and what resources were spent and risked to develop them. And don't let them be transferred and for the most part put them in the name of a person and not a corporation. Think of it as X prizes for innovation. And for the most part it should be the panels coming up with problems to be rewarded. There should be safeguards against lobbying the patent board to invent problems for an already developed weak solutions.

Such a board should have broad powers that aren't easily overruled by any court. If fact they should be able to revise their patents awards such as by lengthening or shortening patent periods. And they should be able to set prices and limits for licensing.

It should be an organization the size of the pentagon and it should be international because business and research is international.

So inovation is dead. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 3 years ago | (#35883848)

So without a pack of patents so one can use MAD as a defense you can not innovate in the consumer electronics and software space. If you do too well someone will come after you. Can someone please just kill software patents today. Of course this could be good for FOSS but probably terrible for everybody else. Notice that Apple now is claiming a patient on rectangles with rounded corners if they happen to be cell phones.

Re:So inovation is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884732)

or do it outside the USA.

Won't do a damn thing to trolls (4, Informative)

DaveInAustin (549058) | about 3 years ago | (#35883866)

Patents can only be enforced against entities that actually make something useful. Since trolls [wikipedia.org] don't actually make anything, they are immune to patent lawsuits (unless the IBM's patent troll patent [slashdot.org] sticks).

Linux only (0)

Bizzeh (851225) | about 3 years ago | (#35883888)

why is this organisation designed to protect linux and not open sourced software in general? seems like the linux community are looking to build their own patent portfolio the easy way to shore up some funds by taking action against others.

So the droid is the new penguin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884122)

why is the droid now the "linux" icon..

Don't talk about Fight Club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35884138)

I'm not sure if it's random or not, but it might be Slashdot is pulling its weight by only awarding me mod points when I log on using my Linux install and never when I use Windows.

Maybe it's based on heuristics?

They missed their chance (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885176)

To name it the Open Invention Network Koalition.

Idea on why they do this (1)

wall0645 (1665631) | about 3 years ago | (#35885278)

I had an idea of why a company like Facebook might want to do this. If their servers all run GNU/Linux, they probably don't want to pay license fees for all of them if using GNU/Linux requires license fees due to patent infringement. Could that be part of it? (As much as I'd like to believe that all these companies just love GNU/Linux and want it to succeed...)

Sony? (1)

men0s (1413347) | about 3 years ago | (#35885568)

Not trying to flamebait but Sony? The same Sony that chose to remove the OtherOS option (which allowed users to run a form a Linux) from their PS3 consoles? Why would they be one of the founding members of this organization?

Re:Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35886868)

All newer Sony TV's as well as some other devices use linux as their OS. They have a site where you can download them to comply with licensing.

I hope they're not spending money on that stuff, i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35885666)

I hope they're not spending money on that stuff, it's free!

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