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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Open Invention Network®?
Open Invention Network’s mission is to further software innovation by acquiring patents to be used for cross-licensing purposes to defend the Linux System, as well as make them available to support Linux by licensing them on a royalty-free basis.

What is Linux?
Linux is a free operating system originally created by Linus Torvalds with the assistance of developers from around the world. Developed under the GNU General Public License, the source code for Linux is freely available to everyone.

Why was the company formed?
Open Invention Network® was formed to ensure that individual programmers, independent software vendors, distributors and businesses have open access to intellectual property related to the Linux System. This will continue to fuel software innovation that leads to increased sales, productivity, flexibility and profits.

What is the structure of the company?
Open Invention Network® is an incorporated, Limited Liability Company.

Who are Open Invention Network®’s investors?
Open Invention Network® has significant industry backing with financial support from a diverse group of companies including IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony.

What types of patents does Open Invention Network® purchase?
Open Invention Network® purchases patents applicable to all areas of software useful in protecting the Linux operating system.

Why doesn’t Open Invention Network® just make all these patents royalty-free to the entire public, or simply drop them?
We are making the patents available royalty-free, and all we ask in return is that the licensee agrees not to assert its patents against Linux.

What does Open Invention Network® do with the royalty streams of its patents?
It is not anticipated that there will be any royalty streams.

Large companies have recently been talking about "patent trolls." They are typically referring to companies and individuals who develop or acquire patents in order to look for infringers. Is that the purpose of Open Invention Network®?
No. In fact, it's the exact opposite. The term patent trolls implies something that's aggressive, punitive and territorial and stops people from collaborating. Open Invention Network®’s mission is not to seek revenues by asserting its patents. Rather, its intent is only to assert its patents in a defensive way - against those who attack Linux. Through such actions, OIN® helps to facilitate and promote a fertile, positive ecosystem for Linux and open standards, which will drive innovation and choice into the marketplace.

Is there a link between Open Invention Network® and the OSDL Patent Commons?
There is no link between Open Invention Network® and the Open Source Development Labs’ (OSDL) Patent Commons. Open Invention Network® is about acquiring Linux operating environment patents and sharing them, royalty-free with the community.