[Exherbo-dev] Open Invention Network

Wulf C. Krueger philantrop at exherbo.org
Sat Sep 24 18:14:49 BST 2011

As some of you know, we, Exherbo, have been invited to join the Open
Invention Network (OIN) some time ago.

I've been in touch with them for a while now and asked some question to
better understand what they're doing, how they're doing it and what us
joining would mean.

Here's what we discussed so that we can hopefully come to a conclusion
about whether to join them or not. In the end, Bryan would have to sign
so in the end, it's his call.

- Does it cost anything (in terms of money)?

OIN: "There is no cost."

- What's in it for us?

OIN: Exherbo "would receive a free license to all of OIN's patents and
the Linux System patents of the others in the OIN community."
"There is no cost and if, as you say, Exherbo has no patents to license
then this should be a win/win decision to join."

- Since Exherbo has no legal standing whatsoever but consists of
individual developers, would it even be possible to join?

OIN: Yes, "we would be pleased to have Exherbo join our community as
long as Brian, as the Project Lead, signs the agreement."

- Is there a list of open source projects that have been taken to court
(or a serious attempt was made) over software patents?

OIN: "Microsoft suit against Tom Tom International", "there are others
who have been approached by trolls or those that are opposed to Linux
and, due to confidentiality requests I cannot list them."

- The OIN is US-based, most of us are Europeans. Are the different legal
systems of any importance here?

OIN: "With regard to different legal systems our community has members
from all over the world so different legal systems has no impact on your
ability to become a licensee."

- What checks and balances are in place that will prevent OIN from
becoming a "patent troll" itself at some point in the future?

OIN: Chances for that to happen are very slim. "It wouldn't matter to
Exherbo because it, as a member of the OIN community, would already be
licensed to OIN's portfolio (patents and patent applications) and free
from aggression."

- By actively acquiring patents isn't OIN actually further *cementing*
software patents?

OIN: "While we understand your position regarding software patents, they
are still in existence in many places in the world, and while they still
exist it is our goal to protect the Linux community from patent aggression."

Personally, I think we *should* join OIN. There aren't any real
drawbacks I can see but having the OIN with more than 380 member
organisations and lots of licensed patents in our back would be
reassuring and helpful in case things go wrong.

What do you guys think? Bryan?

Best regards, Wulf

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