Google Announces Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge, Commits Not To Sue Users, Distributors, Developers Over Open-Source Software

Posted on Mar 29 2013 - 1:07am by Editorial Staff


Google today announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge, means from now onwards the company will not sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. This is a whole new latest attempt by Google which will source out that the open-source software is “at the root of many innovations” in markets.

The company is starting small with ten patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets which was developed first at the company and now its open-source versions are used at huge scale in the industry. The company pledged that it will also cover the other technologies. Further, enhancing over the fact that the OPN pledge will serve as a model for the industry as well as it will certainly encouraged other patent holders also to adopt the pledge or a similar initiative.

The company listed the following advantages:

  • Transparency. Patent holders determine exactly which patents and related technologies they wish to pledge, offering developers and the public transparency around patent rights.
  • Breadth. Protections under the OPN Pledge are not confined to a specific project or open- source copyright license. (Google contributes a lot of code under such licenses, like the Apache or GNU GPL licenses, but their patent protections are limited.) The OPN Pledge, by contrast, applies to any open-source software—past, present or future—that might rely on the pledged patents.
  • Defensive protection. The Pledge may be terminated, but only if a party brings a patent suit against Google products or services, or is directly profiting from such litigation.
  • Durability. The Pledge remains in force for the life of the patents, even if we transfer them.
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