Open Saucers buying up patent insurance

Open sauce groups are frantically buying up patents to prevent being sued by proprietary companies.

KDE and The Document Foundation joined the Open Invention Network (OIN) as a licensee following the doomed Novell flogging of its patents.

The fear is that Novell has put open source companies at risk by flogging IPs to a company backed by Microsoft, Oracle and Apple.

Redmond has always claimed that Linux infringes its patents, but it has never pointed out which one. Oracle’s hamfisted use of the Open Sauce products it bought from Sun makes it appear like the outfit is not interested in propping up the concept and Apple is the most proprietary outfit on this side of the galactic Rim.

It appears that the open saucers feel that OIN, which was was founded as a way to help defend the Linux ecosystem, gives them some protection.

Patents owned by Open Invention Network are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System, creating an umbrella of protection for its members.

Adriaan de Groot, vice president of KDE said OIN provides an additional safety net for KDE when it comes to the risks Free Software is facing from such patents today.

“We are committed to freedom of action in Linux, and in taking a license we help to address the threat from companies that support proprietary platforms to the exclusion of open source initiatives, and whose behaviors reflect a disdain for inventiveness and collaboration.”

Ironically it means that the Open Sauce community has had to embrace the patent system, which it traditionally hates. It is a bit like hiring a vampire to stop yourself being bitten by another bloodsucker.

Still there is a saying that you always become your own worst enemy.