Patents are a public grant through governments, of the exclusive right to exploit the invention described in the patent for a fixed period of time, typically 20 years from the filing of a patent application. The bargain received by the public is that of disclosure of the invention so others may learn from the invention. The exclusive rights held by the owner of the patent are the rights to manufacture, use and sell products or processes they invented.
Patents can be powerful tools and are critical to commerce in a number of industries. Without the benefit of the exclusive rights conveyed by patents, it would be difficult to justify the risks inherent in the inventive process where substantial time or cost is involved. At the same time, merely holding a patent does not assure the ability to bring the invention to market. It is this ability to determine who may exploit the invention that gives the patent value. Businesses that infringe on a patent must either stop producing the item they are selling or negotiate an exchange of economic value with the patent owner.Open Invention Network® believes that one of the keys to innovation in the Linux community is the ability to share software code and ideas. Open Invention Network® acquires patents and makes them available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. This enables companies to make significant corporate and capital expenditure investments in Linux — helping to promote collaboration and fuel economic growth.