Foxconn becomes part of effort to safeguard Linux against patent claims

Foxconn Company came in among the organization's participants Open Invention Network (OIN), dedicated to protecting the Linux ecosystem from patent claims. By joining OIN, Foxconn has demonstrated its commitment to co-innovation and non-aggressive patent management. Foxconn ranks 20th in the ranking of the largest corporations by revenue (Fortune Global 500) and is the world's largest contract manufacturer of electronics (about 40% of all consumer electronic devices are manufactured at Foxconn).

OIN members agree not to assert patent claims and will freely permit the use of patented technologies in projects related to the Linux ecosystem. OIN members include more than 3,800 companies, communities, and organizations that have signed a patent-sharing license agreement. Among the main participants of OIN, ensuring the formation of a patent pool protecting Linux, are companies such as Google, Amazon, IBM, NEC, Toyota, Renault, SUSE, Philips, Red Hat, Alibaba, HP, AT&T, Juniper, Facebook, Cisco, Casio, Huawei, Fujitsu, Sony and Microsoft.

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Companies that sign the agreement gain access to patents held by OIN in exchange for an obligation not to pursue legal claims for the use of technologies used in the Linux ecosystem. Including as part of joining OIN, Microsoft conveyed OIN participants have the right to use more than 60 thousand of their patents, pledging not to use them against Linux and open source software.

The agreement between OIN participants applies only to components of distributions that fall under the definition of the Linux System (“Linux System”). Currently list includes 3730 packages, including Linux kernel, Android platform, KVM, Git, nginx, Apache Hadoop, CMake, PHP, Python, Ruby, Go, Lua, LLVM, OpenJDK, WebKit, KDE, GNOME, QEMU, Firefox, LibreOffice, Qt, systemd, X.Org, Wayland, PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc. In addition to non-aggression obligations, for additional protection, OIN has formed a patent pool, which includes Linux-related patents purchased or donated by participants.

OIN's patent pool includes more than 1,300 patents. OIN also holds a group of patents that contain some of the first mentions of technologies for creating dynamic web content, which foreshadowed the emergence of such systems as ASP from Microsoft, JSP from Sun/Oracle and PHP. Another significant contribution is the acquisition in 2009 of 22 Microsoft patents that had previously been sold to the AST consortium as patents covering “open source” products. All OIN participants have the opportunity to use these patents free of charge. The validity of the OIN agreement was confirmed by the decision of the US Department of Justice, which required that OIN's interests be taken into account in the terms of the transaction for the sale of Novell patents.

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