This time, with more than 60,000 patents joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), the gesture to the open source community may be one of the most important open source initiatives it has made so far.
What does this mean?
First of all, all -- yes, all the patents in the Microsoft patent portfolio are available to the OIN community for free. Microsoft has more than 90,000 patents, but so far only 60,000 have been approved. The remaining 30,000 are still pending approval at the Patent and Trademark Office. If these upcoming patents are passed, Microsoft also plans to offer the OIN community free of charge.
Then the question is coming, does this includeWith File Allocation Table (FAT), Extended FAT (ExFAT), and Virtual (VFAT))Related patents? Erich Andersen, vice president and chief intellectual property consultant at Microsoft, replied: "All patents we license this time are available for Linux systems." (We're licensing all patents we own that read on the 'Linux system.)
What does the so-called "Linux system" mean?
The OIN-defined Linux system covers the Linux kernel, many of the tools available to the Linux operating system, and most of the components of Android.
In addition, OIN provides patent protection for other open source programs that are not normally considered part of Linux. For example, open source software running on top of Linux may also be protected, and these are also freely available patents. If you are unsure, please consult your IP attorney to see if there is a risk. In return for Microsoft, Microsoft can also use OIN to share patents in the patent pool for free.
Can I use Microsoft's patented technology in open source programs now?
Maybe. Are you a member of OIN? If so, the answer is yes. But as OIN CEO Keith Bergelt said, "Microsoft is still free to sue those organizations that are not OIN."
What if I have reached a patent agreement with Microsoft?
The agreement still exists and is valid.
Microsoft's participation in OIN will not change this - whether your company is an OIN member. For example, if your company GreatAndroidPhones signed a 10-year Android royalty royalty payment contract in 2017, it is still in the same situation and the contract is still valid. Of course, you can revisit the issue of negotiating the contract with Microsoft. If you are an OIN member, you may have the opportunity to make new arrangements.