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Microsoft open-source 60,000 patents to help Linux avoid lawsuits



Microsoft announced that it is joining the Open Invention Network, an open-source patent group that is dedicated to protecting Linux from lawsuits. Microsoft has made 60,000 of its patents open source.

Microsoft has been notoriously protecting its patents. This is a surprise to many in the developer community. Android and Samsung have even had to pay billions because of infringements, so Microsoft has a financial interest in keeping a tight grip.

But Microsoft wants to change its reputation, and show how developer-friendly it can be. Developers "want to deploy technologies at the edge ̵

1; on any device – that meets customer needs," said Eric Anderson, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel. "We also learned that collaborative development through the open source process can accelerate innovation."

There are major benefits to being a part of OIN. Companies and developers get access to both OIN-owned patents and cross-licenses between other OIN licensees, sans royalty. Currently, OIN provides a license platform for "roughly 2,650 companies globally," including big names like Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Sony, and Toyota. For you and me, that means less legal headache for developers – especially those who do not have giant legal teams at their disposal – and potentially faster software releases for all of us.

Microsoft is not the first time has loosened its hold on patents. The company made a major change two years ago with its Azure IP Advantage Plan, to protect users from patent trolls. Og tidligere i år har det implementert en ny politik som siger at firmaer som arbejder med Microsoft på teknologiske løsninger kan holde fast ved ethvert patentret, der kommer ud af det partnerskab. Den eksamensanvendte var at et sydkoreansk hospital og en bevægelsessporing AI skabte at indsamle data om kirurgiske bevægelser under en operation. The technology was developed at Microsoft, but the hospital held on the intellectual property.

Either way, this move by Microsoft is a major step forward for developers everywhere.


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