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.