Open Source Development Labs, the trade body for Linux research, has launched a patent commons project, providing a central repository of software patents and patent pledges to make access easier for the open source development community.
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The patent commons project will initially include a library and database bringing together patent pledges made by companies for the benefit of the open source community. It will also offer a collection of software patent licences and software patents, issued and pending.
OSDL chief executive Stuart Cohen said, “Our goal is to make it easier for developers and industry to take advantage of the good works of vendors, individuals and organisations who may wish to pledge patents and intellectual property in support of the community.”
The move offers developers the assurance that the patents will not be enforced against them on open source software.
Linux operating system creator Linus Torvalds, who is based at OSDL, said, “Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”
The project is still in its planning stages and details are expected to be announced in the next few months.