In a move aimed at defending distributors of open source Linux operating system from patent litigation, a group of Linux proponents under the umbrella organization Open Invention Network (OIN) have bought a set of 22 patents originally held by Microsoft.
Incidentally OIN has large companies like IBM and Red Hat as its members and the move follows possibilities of legal suits that Microsoft may bring in future to stall the distribution of Linux based systems.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the set of patents in question relate to certain technologies that are found in Linux distributions. It is interesting to note that Microsoft has a long history of rivalry with Linux and it claims that Linux violates over 235 patents that the company currently holds.
Typically Microsoft tries to strike patent deals with organizations before bringing cases before a court; however it did not follow this trend when it filed a case against TomTom, a GPS navigation system vendor which incidentally uses Linux in its devices.
The patents that OIN has acquired were purchased from Microsoft by an organization known as the Allied Security Trust for an undisclosed sum.
Expressing his satisfaction at the development OIN CEO Keith Bergelt mentioned in a statement “The prospect of these patents being placed in the hands of non-practicing entities was a threat that has been averted with these purchases, irrespective of patent quality and whether or not the patents truly read on Linux”.
Eweek questioned the motives behind the sale of the patents by Microsoft to Allied Security Trust. Keith Bergelt told the online tech website that Microsoft might have ulterior motives. Still, this is an ongoing battle between Microsoft and the Open Source camp.