This morning IBM announced a broad patent pledge that covers over 150 of the core software interoperability standards. These standards had all been previously given royalty free licenses, but from a variety of sources at a variety of times. This action simplifies and makes more consistent the intellectual property situation around these important infrastructure specifications. This pledge applies to all implementors of the standards on all platforms.
This is part of our continuing evolution and program to help spur open innovation and collaboration, as well as moving to true interoperability via the widespread use of open standards. Previous examples include our Linux kernel pledge in 2004, the “500 Patent Pledge for Open Source” and the Healthcare/Education standards pledge in 2005, and the co-founding of the Open Invention Network.
Personally, I believe such positive, constructive actions regarding intellectual property are the preferred routes to accelerate the shift to better products and services for customers via open architectures.
We welcome others to join us in this pledge to not assert their necessary patents for these important standards.
As a complete aside, it’s fascinating to see such a huge, comprehensive list of standards and to realize just how far we’ve come as an industry.
- Vnunet.com: “IBM unveils software interoperability patent pledge”
- LinuxWorld: “Counter-FUD on patents”
- InfoWorld: “IBM pledges access to its IP for standards”
- Computer Business Review Online: “IBM promises standards-based patent protection for all”
- internetnews.com: “IBM Extends Patent Pledge”