IBM, Sony and Phillips joined forces with Linux distributors Red Hat and Novell to create a company for sharing royalty-free Linux patents.
The company - Open Invention Network was unveiled on Thursday and, if it wins the public's acceptance, it could overcome the problems Microsoft outlined: that relying on open source software poses legal risks.
The patents owned by OIN will be freely available to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patent to third parties that also signed the same OIN license, for certain Linux software.
"If a company decides that they had a need for a license we would be willing to license them ....(but) only in return for them agreeing not to go against Linux," OIN Chief Executive and former IBM Vice President of Intellectual Property, Jerry Rosenthal.
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