Linux Mint is now an OIN licensee. This basically means that we agree not to use any of our present or future patents against other OIN licensees and against Linux systems in general, and in exchange other OIN licensees do the same for us. OIN also owns a collection of patents which we can use for free, and which they would use against any company who would threaten an OIN member.
In other words we’re joining forces with other OIN licensees in a reciprocal agreement not to use our patents against each others and we’re also getting some level of protection from the OIN itself against potential external patent threats.
People know where I sit when it comes to intellectual property and especially when it comes to exclusivity and patents. When I first received an email from the OIN, with the word “patent” in it, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it, to say the least. But as I read about the OIN, their purpose and their achievements, I got convinced that this was a good thing.
The same way the FSF is using copyright to protect copyleft, the OIN is using patents as some sort of dissuasive weapon to protect the Linux community.
Founder members of the OIN include:
- Red Hat
Other Licensees of the OIN include:
Of course we do not own any patents and we don’t intend to file any in the future. We gain protection against other members and licensees patents though (Philips owns the patents on the MP3 codecs for instance) and we associate our name with an honorable initiative which purpose is to protect community like ours and open-source developers.
Questions about this are welcome. It took me some time to get over my initial repulsion for patents and to see the good in this, so please don’t hesitate if you need some clarification.
This is very good news for us and for Linux in general.
For more information about the OIN: http://www.openinventionnetwork.com