Major Japanese hardware vendor joins Open Invention Network

Usually, it's Linux and open-source companies which join the Linux patent consortium Open Invention Network. Now, Japanese hardware firm Taiyo Yuden, realizing technology's future lies with open source, has joined too.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

The Open Invention Network (OIN) is the largest patent non-aggression community in history. It's chief job has been to protect Linux and open-source friendly companies from patent attacks. Now, Japanese hardware power Taiyo Yuden has joined the OIN as a community member.

What does a global leader in the development of advanced capacitors, inductors, functional modules, and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters have to do with Linux or open source? True, its components are used in mobile devices, personal electronics and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which are dominated by Linux and open-source software. But it doesn't create products which use either. That's the job of companies further up the supply chain.

Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN, explained that's exactly the point, "While many of our more than 3,100 licensees have either developed for, or have been users of, free and open-source software, Taiyo Yuden joining OIN is significant because it is their customers that are developing and integrating Linux and other OSS software. Their parts enable higher order devices like smartphones to work and Taiyo Yuden recognizes the need for and advantages of patent non-aggression in the core."

What the OIN and its members get out of Taiyo Yuden joining is access to the company's significant patent holdings. Bergelt concluded, "We are pleased that the company has recognized the importance of participating in OIN as part of its intellectual property strategy."

Shigetoshi Akino, General Manager of Taiyo Yuden's Intellectual Property Division, added, "Although Taiyo Yuden does not directly incorporate open-source software in our products, our customers do, and it is important for us to support open-source initiatives that are critical to the continued success of our clients. By joining the Open Invention Network, we are demonstrating support for open source through patent non-aggression in Linux and adjacent open source technologies."

This is an interesting move. It's the first time a company that's adjacent to Linux and open-source software rather than deeply committed to this kind of software has joined the OIN. This underlines just how important Linux and open source has become to all technology.

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. You can sign the OIN license online.

Related Stories:

Editorial standards