Shopify joins the Open Invention Network Linux patent protection group

Shopify, a leading global commerce company, based its e-commerce tools around Ruby on Rails, so it only made sense for it to protect Linux and all the rest of open-source software as well.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

For 15 years, the Open Invention Network (OIN) has defended the intellectual property (IP) rights of Linux and open-source software developers from patent trolls. Now, OIN will have the help of Shopify, which is also turning 15, to make sure free and open-source software stays free from its attackers. 

Shopify is a leading global e-commerce company. Its software tools are used by 1.7-million real businesses in more than 175 countries to start, grow, market, and manage retail businesses. Shopify, like so many other companies, owes its success to open-source software. 

"At Shopify, we've built our platform on Ruby on Rails. We view open-source software as a key foundation for our business," said Robert Guay, Shopify senior counsel of intellectual property. "By joining the Open Invention Network, we have committed to patent non-aggression in core Linux and adjacent open-source software. We believe that this commitment will promote innovation and help enable entrepreneurs and developers to build on open source foundations without focusing on the threat of litigation. We strongly encourage all forward-looking e-commerce platforms, retailers, and other companies to do the same." 

With more than 1.58 million websites running on Shopify's software, the company is a business-to-business powerhouse. Indeed, it's Canada's largest publicly traded company. 

That's in no small part because, as Keith Bergelt, OIN's CEO, observed: "Shopify's platform provides not only the tools to build an online store, but also a full suite of merchant solutions, including payment processing through Shopify Payments and loans through Shopify Capital, among others.  Ecommerce platforms, fintech, and financial services companies should all take note of Shopify's growth and leadership, which has been built upon open-source software going back to its launch."

As more and more companies, ranging from Microsoft to China's Inspur to Barclays and the TD Bank Group, join the OIN's 3,500 plus members, Linux, and open-source domination of the business world. 

OIN protects Linux and OSS by cross-licensing Linux System -- including Android and exFAT -- patents among OIN members 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. Your company can join the OIN by signing the OIN license online.

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