On the afternoon of October 12th, Beijing time, Microsoft hopes to reach a settlement on the Linux patent issue, and said this week that it will allow 2,600 companies (including long-term competitors such as Google and IBM) to use the technology behind Microsoft's 60,000 patents. In the open source project related to Linux.
This is good news for IoT device manufacturers. Linux provides technical support for connected cars, Amazon Echo hardware devices, etc., but Microsoft has always insisted that Linux-related technologies infringe the company's patents, and has sued many companies that infringe patents. For example, in 2009, it sued TomTom, a manufacturer of GPS navigation equipment, saying that the company's Linux-based products infringe the company's patents on how operating systems handle stored files.
Microsoft said it will also join the "Open Invention Network". The community was founded in 2005 and called itself a “non-infringement patent community”. Community members, including Linux companies such as Red Hat and automakers such as Toyota and General Motors, have reached a consensus that they will no longer file lawsuits against Linux projects. Members can also use the patents owned by the community.
Some of the content is unclear, such as which Microsoft patents this will include, especially patented content licensed by Android device manufacturers like Samsung. A spokesperson said that Microsoft will license all patents related to the Linux system, and OIN defines it as the software code exposed under the open source license. In this statement, Microsoft will not open source any of its new code and will not transfer any patent ownership to OIN. It also has no commitment to license patents to OIN in the future.
But after joining the organization, Microsoft essentially allowed the Linux community to use its 60,000 patents for free, without having to worry about Microsoft initiating a patent lawsuit. This means that if a member of OIN, such as Google, adds Microsoft-licensed patents to the Linux kernel, then others can use this open source code —— whether they are members of OIN or not, Don't worry that Microsoft will sue it.
Microsoft's move also means that the technology industry has changed a lot, and the industry has gradually moved away from the fierce and costly patent litigation. In 2014, Elon & middot; Elon Musk announced that Tesla would not sue companies that wanted to use its technology, when he was playing down the importance of using patents, and mentioned between Apple and Samsung. A protracted legal battle is futile.