With over a billion users, TikTok owns the short video content market. It became the leader because it was the right service at the right time for hundreds of millions of bored people who wanted a smile. But, without Linux and open-source software, it wouldn't have gone anywhere. ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, knows this. So, it's not too much of a surprise that the business has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN).
The OIN, the world's largest patent non-aggression consortium, 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.
By becoming a licensee and community member of OIN, ByteDance will be sharing its other patents to Helo, Resso, and the Chinese specific programs Toutiao, Douyin, and Xigua.
Why is ByteDance doing this? Because, like many other companies, including Microsoft, they consider "Linux and adjacent open source software as key elements for our business," said Lynn Wu, ByteDance's Chief IP Counsel. Wu continued, "ByteDance's participation in the OIN community shows our consistent commitment to shared innovation. We will continue to support it with patent non-aggression in core Linux and other important open-source software technologies."
ByteDance may also have joined because its biggest fellow Chinese rival, Kuaishou, recently joined the OIN. In recent years, many Chinese firms, such as hardware giant Inspur, have joined forces with the OIN.
Linux and open-source, as most of you know, now lies behind most internet services. For example, Google and Facebook both rely on Linux. As Keith Bergelt, OIN's CEO explained "Linux and other open-source platforms are the enabling technologies that internet platforms leverage to scale globally, We are glad that ByteDance is looking to do its part to mitigate global patent risk for OSS by joining OIN and demonstrating its commitment to collaborative innovation and patent non-aggression in open source."
You don't have to be a ByteDance or Microsoft to reap the benefits of OIN membership. OIN's community practices patent non-aggression in core Linux and adjacent open source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System 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. Any company can join the OIN and obtain its patent protections simply by signing the OIN license online.