Linked by David Adams on Fri 25th Jun 2010 20:32 UTC, submitted by dizmal
Legal Canonical have become the first member to sign up to the Open Invention Network's new associate membership program. The Open Invention Network exists to acquire patents and license them royalty free to entities which, in turn, "agree not to assert their own patents against Linux or Linux-related applications." Current well-known companies involved with the OIN include Sony, IBM and Novell.
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Comment by Parry Hotter
by Parry Hotter on Fri 25th Jun 2010 21:53 UTC
Parry Hotter
Member since:
2007-07-20

Associate membership program, what does that actually mean? I couldn't find anything but a vague blurb in the press release about it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Parry Hotter
by dizmal on Fri 25th Jun 2010 23:09 UTC in reply to "Comment by Parry Hotter"
dizmal Member since:
2009-04-22

I agree its not very clear but from what i understood the licensee commits to not suing against linux (for patent infringement) and can use OIN patent pool royalty free whilst is more than that (maybe share there patents in the pool or helps actively to defend cases against linux) and there are the founding members.

Its not very clear but seems to me licensee=passive help (by not suing) while associate= active help (not clear maybe by sharing patents or exact details will be tailored for each associate)

Edited 2010-06-25 23:10 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Parry Hotter
by Moochman on Sat 26th Jun 2010 08:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Parry Hotter"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Its not very clear but seems to me licensee=passive help (by not suing) while associate= active help (not clear maybe by sharing patents or exact details will be tailored for each associate)


Yeah, I kind of doubt that Ubuntu has too many patents (if any) that they could use to prop up the portfolio of the OIN...

Edited 2010-06-26 08:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Parry Hotter
by lemur2 on Sat 26th Jun 2010 10:17 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Parry Hotter"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

" Its not very clear but seems to me licensee=passive help (by not suing) while associate= active help (not clear maybe by sharing patents or exact details will be tailored for each associate)


Yeah, I kind of doubt that Ubuntu has too many patents (if any) that they could use to prop up the portfolio of the OIN...
"

The OIN doesn't work like that. Partners join the OIN, and contribute funds, and the OIN then uses those funds and buys defensive patents.

There is another organisation entirely, called the Patent Commons, where members contribute patents they already hold:
http://www.patentcommons.org/

Canonical aren't involved there, but they can be involved at the OIN.

There is another organisation which is set up to help defend open source software against attack by patent trolls, this one goes by the name of Open Source as Prior Art (OSAPA).

http://www.linuxfoundation.org/programs/legal/osapa

Since Canonical is based on Debian anyway, and Canonical is a relative Jhonny-come-lately, the canonical aren't really in a position to help there either.

There is AFAIK only one other area where Canonical might be able to help:
http://www.linuxfoundation.org/programs/legal/defense-fund

Reply Score: 7

RE: Comment by Parry Hotter
by Almafeta on Sat 26th Jun 2010 16:00 UTC in reply to "Comment by Parry Hotter"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

Associate membership program, what does that actually mean? I couldn't find anything but a vague blurb in the press release about it.


Not much, since all three of the companies listed in the opening blurb above has sued open-source projects over patent abuse since joining the OIN.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Parry Hotter
by sbergman27 on Sun 27th Jun 2010 02:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Parry Hotter"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Not much, since all three of the companies listed in the opening blurb above has sued open-source projects over patent abuse since joining the OIN.

Details, Almafeta?

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

IBM sued the company behind an open source mainframe emulator recently.

http://www.turbohercules.com/news/permalink/a-statement-from-roger-...

Note, this doesn't technically contradict the open invention network's rules, as it is not related to Linux. But it does show the limits of IBM's friendly attitude towards open source.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by Parry Hotter
by lemur2 on Tue 29th Jun 2010 05:16 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Parry Hotter"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

IBM sued the company behind an open source mainframe emulator recently. http://www.turbohercules.com/news/permalink/a-statement-from-roger-... Note, this doesn't technically contradict the open invention network's rules, as it is not related to Linux. But it does show the limits of IBM's friendly attitude towards open source.


IBM didn't sue Turbohercules over any software of Turbohercules, and Turbohercules sued IBM first. IBM's complaint against Turbohercules is similar to Apple's complaint against Pystar.

From the very article you linked, quoting the Turbohercules own CEO:
As many of you know, the company I founded to promote the Hercules open source mainframe emulator, TurboHercules SAS, has filed an antitrust complaint against IBM with the European Commission in Brussels. We are not asking that IBM be subjected to punishing fines or anything like that. We simply want IBM to agree to allow legitimate paying customers of its z/OS mainframe operating system to deploy that software on the hardware platforms of their choice – including, should they so choose, on low-cost servers using Intel or AMD microprocessors and Hercules.


The trouble is, IBM sells z/OS licenes to customers to allow said customers to run z/OS on IBM hardware. IBM is perfectly entitled to stipulate such conditions, since z/OS is IBM's software.

So Turbohercules sued IBM for "anti-trust", so IBM sued Turbohercules for running z/OS outside of the z/OS license terms. This really has very little to do with open source. Given the ruling in Apple vs Pystar, where Pystar were trying to run Apple's Mac OSX outside of Apple's licensing terms, wherein Apple won resoundingly, it would seem that Turbohercules don't have much of a leg to stand on. Turbohercules must respect IBM's license terms for z/OS, just as anyone else running software must respect the license terms set by the authors of that software, as is the law.

Edited 2010-06-29 05:17 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I see. Now I am informed. I disagree with said law, but I understand now that it has less to do with open source than I thought.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by kaiwai
by kaiwai on Sun 27th Jun 2010 04:37 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I wondering whether this has to do with WebM and the threats MPEG-LA are making regarding those who are looking to push WebM as an alternative to h264? Hopefully if the OIN become a strong force in the computer world that the destructive nature of patents will be eliminated.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by lemur2 on Mon 28th Jun 2010 05:07 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I wondering whether this has to do with WebM and the threats MPEG-LA are making regarding those who are looking to push WebM as an alternative to h264? Hopefully if the OIN become a strong force in the computer world that the destructive nature of patents will be eliminated.


Possibly not. MPEG-LA is a patent pool, where they tried to collect all patents relating to a particular product (in this case, a video codec) in order (they say) to give "certainty" to parties implementing a video codec into their product. The idea is that all patents would be collected into the one pool, all patent owners would agree not to sue anyone who had a license for the patent pool, and all patent owners would get a cut.

MPEG LA "courted" On2 for many years, and On2 stubbornly resisted. On2 toook great pains to avoid MPEG-LA pool technologies, and also to get patents for its own technologies. They were evidently good enough at doing this such that for well over a decade MPEG-LA were never able to bring a lawsuit against On2, even while On2 refused to join the MPEG-LA patent pool.

Google have conducted a patent search on On2's VP8 codec, and Google say that they are very confident that the technologies within VP8 are clean (either they are covered by an On2 patent, or On2 applied for a patent but it was rejected for reasons of prior art rather than rejected because there was an existing patent).

Having said that, if MPEG-LA suddenly now come up with a patent pool ostensibly covering some technology in VP8, after all these years, then Google will have a very good case to sue MPEG-LA for attempted inteference with Google's business.

In any event, getting back to the topic, I doubt that OIN has any patent holdings relating to video codecs, given the long-running standoff between On2 and the rest (in MPEG-LA).

Edited 2010-06-28 05:11 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kaiwai
by lemur2 on Mon 28th Jun 2010 06:42 UTC in reply to "Comment by kaiwai"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I wondering whether this has to do with WebM and the threats MPEG-LA are making regarding those who are looking to push WebM as an alternative to h264? Hopefully if the OIN become a strong force in the computer world that the destructive nature of patents will be eliminated.


After a little bit of digging, here is some backup on why I believe that this Canonical move into OIN has nothing at all to do with WebM and MPEG-LA:

http://lwn.net/Articles/389145/
ON2 Made a big deal about their codec's being "patent free" in that they had done the patent research and made sure their codec's didn't infringe any known patent they didn't own. This was long before the Google purchase. Their whole business model was "we can sell you this codec for far cheaper than the MPEG-LA license and we guarantee it doesn't infringe the MPEG-LA patent pool".

Personally I think MPEG-LA will keep blowing smoke and paying for Astroturf studies, but in the end they will never sue because they don't want to risk the patents in the pool being invalidated or providing court evidence that VP8 doesn't infringe MPEG-LA patents. If they sue and Google wins, bam the whole world shifts to VP8 and the MPEG-LA patent pool becomes worthless.

No, they won't sue, it's far to big a risk. It's far easier to spread FUD.


http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roc/archives/2010/05/its_a_relief_to...
On patents: if VP8 turns out to require licensing from the MPEG-LA, then Google wasted most of $120M buying On2. Are they that stupid?


http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/991761/On2-Asks-DO...

Reply Score: 2