CA opens patents to open source

Following IBM's lead, Computer Associates donates 14 of its patents to open-source projects.

Martin LaMonica
Martin LaMonica Former Staff writer, CNET News
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Computer Associates International will give open-source projects access to 14 of its patents, the company said Wednesday as it also announced a technology cross-licensing deal with IBM.

The U.S. patents, which include their equivalents in other countries, address a range of technologies, covering application development, data analytics and systems management. CA said it will provide royalty-free access to the patents and not assert claims against people who make use of them.

CA said it is following IBM's lead, which earlier this year pledged 500 patents to open-source communities. CA also urged other technology companies to help create a "patent commons."

The agreement with IBM calls for an exchange of license rights between the companies, which will make it easier for customers to access free intellectual property, said Mark Barrenechea, CA's executive vice president of technology strategy and chief technology architect.

CA uses a traditional business model for the majority of its products. Last year, however, it dipped its toe into open source by making its Ingres database an open-source project and selling support services.

A few months after former IBM executive John Swainson was named CA's chief executive in 2004, the company voiced its intention to donate some of its patents to help promote open-source development.

The patents it has donated to open-source communities cover development tools to automate translation between programming languages; visualization techniques for analyzing data; tools to maximize performance in systems and storage management; and visualization tools for network management.