Open source software has been one of the greatest sources of innovation. Open source developers have built excellent software solutions for business, education and personal use. Free and open source programs give companies, schools, governments and users more choices, ensuring that they are getting the best possible technology for their needs. Unfortunately, the last decade has seen an enormous rise in software patent suits. Open source developers aren’t any more immune to this threat than other software vendors. However, the culture and innovation modality of open source software, based on engagement and sharing, made it natural to build a collective defensive solution to protect and enable it.
The Open Invention Network is a shared defensive patent pool with the mission to protect Linux. Launched in 2005, OIN has strong industry support with backing from Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony and SUSE (a business unit of Novell). Any company, project or developer that is working on Linux, GNU, Android or any other Linux-related software is welcome to join OIN, free of charge or royalties.