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Google takes a stand on litigation with patent pledge

Won't sue unless attacked
Thu Mar 28 2013, 15:52
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INTERNET SEARCH GIANT Google on Thursday took a stand against patent litigation in the technology industry, announcing the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) pledge.

The company has pledged that it will not sue any "user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked," referring to the fact that its Android mobile operating system has faced vicious patent attacks from Apple and Microsoft.

"We remain committed to an open Internet - one that protects real innovation and continues to deliver great products and services," Google added.

Google didn't offer its full patent portfolio, though, instead offering 10 patents to the OPN pledge that relate to its Mapreduce technology, each of which supposedly is widely used throughout the industry. Google said that over time it will add more of its patents and technologies to the pledge, and it encouraged other companies to do the same thing.

"We hope the OPN Pledge will serve as a model for the industry, and we're encouraging other patent holders to adopt the pledge or a similar initiative," Google said, listing the benefits as transparency, breadth, defensive protection and durability.

Google's pledge echoes Twitter's Innovator's Patent Agreement (IPA) that Twitter announced in April 2012 and in which the microblogging website promised not to become a patent troll.

Twitter explained, "The IPA is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from Twitter to our employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. We will not use the patents from employees' inventions in offensive litigation without their permission.

"What's more, this control flows with the patents, so if we sold them to others, they could only use them as the inventor intended." µ


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