THREE OF Big Tech's biggest are joining forces to fight the scourge of the patent troll.
IBM, Microsoft and The Linux Foundation have agreed to become fully paid up members of the Open Invention Network (OIN), which has been battling the trolls for years now on behalf of its 200 member organisations and the community at large.
What this means in real terms is that the big three are bankrolling the OIN's work, giving it far more teeth as it fights against those who try to get rich through nuisance intellectual property (IP) lawsuits.
This will manifest as the new "Open Source Zone" of OIN, aimed at protecting the thousands of programmers who come up against the bad guys every year.
The OIN strategy is pretty straight forward - by doing a forensic analysis of the patents, it can create more rigid defence cases, thus pricing the troll out of court.
This can take a number of forms, most notably a ‘patent bug bounty' that rewards anyone who can find evidence to nullify claims - the trick is to get them to drop the case as unviable.
Wherever possible, OIN uses a strategy of non-aggression, instead, facilitating patent sharing amongst its members, and encouraging them to make their IP available, free of royalties to its members.
Ultimately, by creating an increasingly robust infrastructure of protection for code, OIN aims to stop trolls from mounting legal challenges in the first place.
Like all bullies, Patent Trolls (or Patent Assertion Entities (PAE) to give them their posh title) trade in fear. By banding together, OIN's new ‘zone' hopes that it can remove the element of fear for open-source coders, thus leaving the trolls powerless.
Alas, this news won't affect the biggest patent troll case of them all - Oracle's fight with Google, which has recently been escalated to the US Supreme Court. μ
Firm's first high-end speaker gets the thumbs up from us
Yes. Yes you can
A fantastic ultraportable that's almost devoid of innovation
Screen if you want to go faster