p2pnet.net News:- Open source software, based on collaborative innovation among developers around the world, is gaining significant marketplace momentum, says IBM.
And to prove the point, it’s turned 500 IBM software patents over to individuals and groups working on open source software in what it says is the largest pledge ever of patents of any kind. The move represents a major shift in the way IBM manages and deploys its intellectual property (IP) portfolio, it says.
“The pledge is applicable to any individual, community, or company working on or using software that meets the Open Source Initiative (OSI) definition of open source software now or in the future.
“IBM intends for this pledge to form the basis of an industry-wide "patent commons" in which patents are used to establish a platform for further innovations in areas of broad interest to information technology developers and users.”
The company also says it’s Number One in the US Patent and Trademark Office annual list of the top patentees.
“With 3,248, IBM earned more U.S. patents than any other company for the twelfth consecutive year,” it says, going on:
“While IP ownership is an essential driver of innovation, technological advances are often dependent on shared knowledge, standards, and collaborative innovation.”
[Quick! Someone run and tell the entertainment industry ! – Ed]
IBM says unlike the preceding Industrial Economy, the Innovation Economy requires that intellectual property be deployed for more than just providing the owner with freedom of action and income generation.
IBM believes the patents it is opening up to open source developers will help foster continued innovation. They also can contribute to open standards and broader interoperability between applications by providing open source developers with a solid base of innovation they can use and share.
At LinuxWorld in August, IBM pledged not to assert any of its patents against the Linux kernel. Today’s pledge covers thousands of open source projects and programs, it points out.
Moreover, "This is not a one-time event," says senior vp John E. Kelly. "We will work with the USPTO and other commentators and policy makers to ensure that the U.S. patent system continues to evolve to address the challenges of the Innovation Economy."
Patents included in the open source releases are posted here.
largest pledge – IBM Pledges 500 U.S. Patents to Open Source in Support of Innovation and Open Standards, IBM, January 11, 2004