When you think of Linux and open-source companies, the automobile industry is not the first business to spring to mind. But maybe it should be. Daimler, Mercedes-Benz's parent company, has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), the Linux and open-source non-aggression patent consortium.
Earlier in 2017 at CES, Daimler joined the Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) organization. This group's membership is a who's who of car manufacturers. Besides Daimler, its membership includes: Mazda. Suzuki, Honda, Nissan, Ford, and the world's largest automobile company: Toyota. As a global leader in premium automobiles, Daimler, the largest global manufacturer of commercial vehicles and an electric vehicles pioneer, is demonstrating its commitment to open-source software.
OIN practices patent non-aggression in core Linux and adjacent open-source technologies by cross-licensing Linux patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. Patents owned by Open Invention Network are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. The OIN license can be signed online.
Why have Daimler and other companies done this? Well, in a world full of patent trolls and where IBM can be granted a patent in 2017 for "automated out-of-office e-mail messages," companies need all the patent protection they can get. At least in IBM's case, the company has announced that it won't charge anyone for using this patent. Most companies are not so generous.
In a statement, Keith Bergelt, the OIN's CEO, said, "The automotive and transportation industries are undergoing a positive sea change in terms of the capabilities offered through intelligent vehicles. Daimler has become a leading driver in intelligent vehicle systems innovation and adoption is Linux through Linux Mobile and IoT technologies. We greatly appreciate Daimler's automotive industry leadership in joining OIN and supporting patent non-aggression in Linux."
"As a leader in the development of intelligent automobiles, Daimler is committed to offering the highest-quality products across our portfolio. By joining the Open Invention Network, we are demonstrating our continued commitment to innovation, and supporting it with patent non-aggression in Linux," added Ralf Lamberti, Daimler's director of intellectual property, trends, and innovation.
The OIN is the largest patent non-aggression community in history and supports freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open-source software. Funded by Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony, SUSE, and Toyota, OIN has more than 2,100 community members and owns more than 1,200 global patents and applications. The OIN patent license and member cross-licenses are available royalty-free to any party that joins the OIN community.
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Today's Tesla cars will become tomorrow's self-driving cars: