Back in March Google made a pledge to allow the free use of certain patents in connection with Free or Open Source Software in order to provide developers with the opportunity to innovate without the fear of being sued. The “Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge,” initially applied to ten of Google’s patents related to the MapReduce programming model with the hopes of furthering the advancement of information technology while decreasing the number of “nuisance” lawsuits.
On Thursday, Google designated an additional 79 patents as part of its pledge, most of which pertained to software used to run data centers, like middleware. Senior Patent Counsel for
Google, Duane Valz says that the release of these new safe patents will only help to “encourage pro-competitive, defensive uses of patents to support open-source innovation…leading to better products and services at lower cost.”
Google’s pledge follows the Open Source Initiative’s definition which promotes the open source distribution of software. Patent-related litigation has skyrocketed over the past few years, especially when it comes to technology and mobile devices, and though Google’s pledge may not seem to make a dent in the overall scheme of things, it is a significant move for the company.
Google not only hopes to wipe out some of the lawsuits that many argue are stifling innovation, but to inspire other industry leaders to do the same. It’s likely that we’ll see more from Google in the near future as the company continues to build up its pledged patent
In a blog entry regarding the recent patent additions to Google’s pledge, Valz wrote “To date, the patents we’ve included in the Pledge have generally related to “back-end” technologies: servers, data centers, and the like. But open-source software is also transforming the development of consumer products that people use every day—so stay tuned for additional extensions to patents covering those sorts of technologies.”
To read more about the Pledge, visit http://www.google.com/patents/opnpledge/pledge/