Google to co-head 'open source' patent defense alliance

Roger Parloff | CNN Money | December 18, 2013

The Open Invention Network (OIN), a consortium of major technology companies formed in 2005 to minimize patent-aggression against free and open-source software projects, plans to announce today that Google (GOOG) has become its seventh full member.

OIN's charter members are IBM (IBM), Red Hat (RHT), Novell, Sony (SNE), and Philips (PHG). NEC joined in 2006—the last full member addition until today. Though OIN does not disclose the capital contribution it requires of full members, the past S.E.C. filings of others suggest that it must be at least $20 million.

Google's arrival reflects the extraordinary commercial success of its Android operating system for smartphones and tablets and of its Chrome OS browser/operating system for notebook computers, both of which are largely composed of open-source software...

...OIN runs a series of programs designed to erect what its CEO, Keith Bergelt, refers to as a "no fly zone" to protect developers and distributors of key open-source, enterprise software programs—and the manufacturers of devices loaded with such programs—against patent licensing demands and lawsuits.