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Linux backers form patent-sharing firm Print E-mail
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Source: ZDNet - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Three of the world's biggest electronics companies--IBM, Sony and Royal Philips Electronics--have joined forces with the two largest Linux software distributors to create a company for sharing Linux patents, royalty-free. The Open Invention Network (OIN), as the new firm unveiled on Thursday is known, could mark a breakthrough in resolving how to protect vendors and customers from patent royalty disputes resulting from freely shared Linux code.

If OIN's approach to managing intellectual property wins acceptance, it could overcome a big stumbling block to wider corporate adoption of Linux and pose challenges for major opponent Microsoft, which has argued that relying on "open source" software poses legal risks.

OIN is funded by the world's largest computer company, IBM, two consumer electronics giants--Sony of Japan and Philips of the Netherlands--and Linux distributors Red Hat and Novell.

Market researcher IDC estimates that the worldwide Linux business will grow 25.9 percent annually, doubling from $20 billion this year to more than $40 billion by 2008.

If patent risk is lifted, Linux use could accelerate at an even faster rate, said Richard Doherty, an industry consultant with Envisioneering Group of Seaford, N.Y.

Read this full article at ZDNet

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