Bilibili, China's YouTube, joins the Open Invention Network

Chinese companies are embracing open-source and Linux intellectual property-friendly agreements.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Even in 2021, I still hear people saying, "Open source is somehow suspicious, or it's not good for business." Multi-billion-dollar Chinese companies know better. Bilibili has joined other Chinese technology powerhouses such as ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, and its rival Kuaishou, in joining the Open Invention Network (OIN).

The OIN is the world's largest patent non-aggression consortium. It protects Linux and related open source software and the companies behind them from patent attacks and patent trolls. The OIN recently broadened its scope from core Linux programs and adjacent open source code by expanding its Linux System Definition to other patents such as the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and the Extended File Allocation Table exFAT file system.

The OIN does this by practicing patent non-aggression in core Linux and related open source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. Patents owned by OIN are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. Any company can do this by simply signing the OIN license online.

So, why is a company that makes its money from giving its young content creators a platform allying with open source? For the same reason, almost all companies rely on open source for their software. It makes good, hard financial sense. 

As Wang Hao, Bilibili's VP, explained, "We are committed to opening and sharing technologies and providing positive motivation in the innovation field of playback transmission, interactive entertainment, and cloud-native ecology through open source projects. Linux and open source are important software infrastructures that promote business developments. Our participation in the OIN community demonstrates our consistent and ongoing commitment to shared innovation. In the future, we will also firmly support Linux's open source innovation."

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