IBM's patent pledge: you and whose army?

IBM has been quiet on patents for some time, but Glyn Moody reminds us that IBM's patent pledge is still in effect, and only helpful if you're using an OSI-approved open source license.

Wow. This post from Glyn Moody just resurfaced memories that should never have been forgotten. Glyn reminds us that IBM made a patent pledge that protects OSI-approved open source projects:

IBM today pledged open access to key innovations covered by 500 IBM software patents to individuals and groups working on open source software. IBM believes this is the largest pledge ever of patents of any kind and represents a major shift in the way IBM manages and deploys its intellectual property (IP) portfolio....

The pledge is applicable to any individual, community, or company working on or using software that meets the Open Source Initiative (OSI) definition of open source software now or in the future.

As Glyn suggests, IBM has provided a very clear reason to care about what the OSI says. No one is going to force patent protection on you. But why wouldn't you want this added security from IBM against patent trolls?

And, btw, why not join the Open Invention Network while you're at it? Chances are it will offer you some protection for components embedded in your application.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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