Open source support group Open Invention Network has acquired 22 Linux-focused patents recently sold by Microsoft.
OIN, which was not invited by Microsoft to join the bidding process, said the patents, which could have been used against Linux products, had been acquired from Allied Security Trust (AST), which had bought them from Microsoft.
"The prospect of these patents being placed in the hands of non-practicing entities was a threat that has been averted with these purchases," said OIN CEO Keith Bergelt said in a statement.
The move will also protect Linux users from lawsuits similar to the one Microsoft brought against satellite navigation maker TomTom.
Microsoft claimed that TomTom's use of Linux violated its FAT filesystem patent.
Dan McCurdy, CEO of AST, said OIN's purchase ensures that these important patents will not be used by so-called patent trolls or others seeking to disrupt Linux and the many companies and individuals advancing this important technology.
OIN was set up in 2005 and members include IBM, Sony, Red Hat, Google and TomTom, which settled with Microsoft for an undisclosed sum in March.