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Open Invention Network expands coverage

The Open Invention Network has announced the expansion of its "Linux System Definition" to include 18 new packages of interest in the mobile arena. They include the core Android code and the Dalvik virtual machine — code that seems more than usually likely to draw patent suits.
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Open Invention Network expands coverage

Posted Aug 29, 2012 20:50 UTC (Wed) by mjw (subscriber, #16740) [Link]

There is an interesting note at the end of the Community of Licensees page:
http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php

"Note(1): Oracle exercised a Limitation Election under section 2.2 of the License Agreement on March 29, 2012"

Open Invention Network expands coverage

Posted Aug 29, 2012 22:02 UTC (Wed) by boog (subscriber, #30882) [Link]

The section in question (from http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/pat_license_agreement...)

2.2 You may make a “Limitation Election” to limit Your patents that are subject to the license granted herein, effective on a “Limitation Date” thirty (30) days after giving written notice to OIN. If a Limitation Election is made, (a) OIN Patents, Licensee Patents, and Your Patents shall thereafter be limited to those licensable during the Capture Period, provided that the Capture Period with respect to Licensee Patents shall end on the Limitation Date; (b) the license in Section 1.1 will become limited to products and services made and marketed by You prior to the Limitation Date; (c) the definition of Linux System shall have the meaning as defined on the Limitation Date; (d) the license in Section 1.2 shall not extend to any Person that becomes a Licensee after the Limitation Date; and (e) any licenses granted in Company Licensing Agreements or any amendment by OIN executed after the Limitation Date shall not extend to You or Your Subsidiaries.

Needs to be parsed carefully, but it seems that Oracle are pulling out, to avoid licensing their patents to dalvik and android. Still a big deal, given the importance of android. I guess that was part of the OIN's calculation - better to create a community around android that to try to keep grumpy Oracle.

Open Invention Network expands coverage

Posted Aug 30, 2012 1:29 UTC (Thu) by Duncan (guest, #6647) [Link]

A "limitation election" wouldn't be Oracle pulling out of OIN entirely, but rather, simply exempting patents in this area from the pool. As one previous example which I happen to remember, Sony has done this with certain of its CD and media patents (so likely BluRay, etc). But they've made patents in other areas available to the OIN pool, and remain one of the bigger OIN and Linux Foundation sponsors (and I believe and OIN founder). I /think/ IBM has done similar, but don't recall for sure, and the same general effect can be had by arbitrarily limiting the defined area of coverage (what the define to be "Linux"), and it may be that as a founder, IBM has simply shaped the defined coverage such that they are comfortable with not taking this sort of "limitation election".

In fact, this announcement actually expands the area of coverage, and the "limitation election" is the mechanism by which OIN members can opt-out of expansions such as this in a limited way, without forcing the otherwise rather drastic choice between omitting the expansion entirely as members could not otherwise agree to it, or forcing existing members to pull out if they can't abide the new expansion.

So the good news is, the area covered by the OIN definition of "Linux" has expanded in general. The bad news is that certain existing members weren't willing to set aside their differences in the covered area in ordered to do so, so the expansion in coverage isn't in practice nearly as broad as it might at first seem.

But it would seem that the OIN powers that be are willing to settle for (to borrow an analogy) half full, in ordered to be able to agree on a vessel to hold any water at all. Whether that's an improvement because anything is better than nothing, or terrible, because it settles for a little instead of encouraging the "World War III, patent war", that many believe is necessary in ordered to eliminate the problem for good, remains up for debate.

But the proponents of "going nuclear" should be quite happy these days, because given the way things are going in the cellphone/tablet world, "patent nuclear war" might not be that far off. And this "limitation election" is notice that Oracle at least, has every intent of continued escalation, so while the OIN headlines look good, ONWARD! we go, toward patent-nuclear!

Time will tell...

Duncan

Open Invention Network expands coverage

Posted Aug 29, 2012 22:36 UTC (Wed) by tmarble (subscriber, #37983) [Link]

We would like to believe that OIN could provide coverage for Free Java related projects. However Oracle's limitation almost certainly excludes such coverage.

Separately, as mjw often points out, the community is protected in using OpenJDK by the GPL. This is sometimes referred to as the "implied patent grant of GPLv2" or taken as a direct interpretation of the license preamble.

It's too bad that Sun didn't license Java to Google back in the day and that OpenJDK was not far enough along at the time Android was being developed. In either case the recent litigation would likely have been avoided.

Developers considering Java for Free platforms -- especially in alternate universe where a Free mobile stack could exist -- should use OpenJDK and other Free Java technologies such as IcedTea.

Open Invention Network expands coverage

Posted Aug 30, 2012 2:02 UTC (Thu) by ncm (subscriber, #165) [Link]

Restrictions on use of Java in Free Software are a gift in disguise. The less exposure we have to Java and its ilk, the happier we will all be.

Open Invention Network expands coverage

Posted Aug 30, 2012 13:44 UTC (Thu) by charriu (guest, #86481) [Link]

I understand that Java may not be perfect, but can you please explain why you feel this way?


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