Patent trolls exist and what usually happens is that they take vague sounding patents and go after big companies in hopes that these companies will choose to settle so that they’ll go away. Unfortunately not all companies, especially smaller ones, have the resources to deal with patent trolls, and in such instances it can break a company.

However Microsoft is hoping to prevent that from happening and has announced that they will be making 60,000 patents they own open source to help protect Linux from lawsuits. This will see Microsoft join the Open Invention Network, which for those unfamiliar is a community dedicated to protecting open source software from patent infringement lawsuits.

According to Microsoft, “Now, as we join OIN, we believe Microsoft will be able to do more than ever to help protect Linux and other important open source workloads from patent assertions. We bring a valuable and deep portfolio of over 60,000 issued patents to OIN. We also hope that our decision to join will attract many other companies to OIN, making the license network even stronger for the benefit of the open source community.”

It’s actually an interesting move by Microsoft, especially since it would actually benefit them if more users turned to Windows. However Microsoft claims that they believe that collaboration helps accelerate innovation.

Filed in General. Read more about Legal, Linux, Microsoft and Patent.

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