Linux and open-source software have had to content with intellectual property (IP) legal challenges for years. Now, Google has started a new effort to bring peace to potential Android IP sore points: PAX.
The Android Networked Cross-License, which the members call "PAX" for short, is a royalty-free, community-patent cross-license. It covers both Android and Google Applications pre-installed on devices that meet Android's compatibility requirements.
PAX, however, deals specifically with Android and Google's Android applications. Will it work? It depends.
Andrew "Andy" Updegrove, founding partner of the prestigious IP law firm Gesmer Updegrove LLP, explained, "The simple answer is that PAX will be judged by the company it keeps. There has been a long history of both real and symbolic patent promises. Some, like the OIN, are well funded, have attracted very broad participation, and engage in multiple ancillary activities to achieve the objective of maintaining a "no fly zone" over Linux to the greatest extent possible."
On the other hand, "Others, like the multiple public non-assertion pledges of IBM, Motorola, Nokia, Oracle, Sun, and other companies relating to Linux and other core OSS more than a decade ago were largely for the PR value they achieved by showcasing the commitment of the companies involved. The PAX announcement seems to position itself somewhere in between the two, involving formal cross-licenses between participants, and therefore enforceable rights, but not an infrastructure to do more (at least insofar as one can tell from the initial announcement)."