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Microsoft Joins Open Invention Network and Shares All its 60,000 Patents

     
8:32 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network, which includes Google, IBM, Red Hat, and SUSE, and has shared its entire patent portfolio: 60,000 patents!

This is a significant move by Microsoft and reflects a complete shift in its stance of old.

OIN is the largest patent non-aggression community in history and represents a core set of open-source intellectual-property values. Its members include Google, IBM, Red Hat, and SUSE. The OIN patent license and member cross-licenses are available royalty-free to anyone who joins the OIN community.
Keith Bergelt, OIN's CEO, commented on Microsoft's announcement in an interview: "This is everything Microsoft has, and it covers everything related to older open-source technologies such as Android, the Linux kernel, and OpenStack; newer technologies such as LF Energy and HyperLedger, and their predecessor and successor versions."

[zdnet.com...]
9:01 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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*All* patents owned by a company become open source to other OIN members when the company joins OIN?

That'a a pretty big deal.
9:55 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Exactly, and this means the income from the patents will drop. We're talking billions of $ here.
10:17 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but wouldn't the patent income continue from those other companies who are *not* members?
10:17 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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May be tech giants were starting to get trapped in their own game. Owning patents for the purpose of preventing others to develop things, but at the same time being unable to develop their own tech because of patents owned by others.

Without counting the endless lawsuits , between each others, which were leading nowhere.
10:59 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I doubt the patent income is important to anyone involved. The big businesses in tech all cross license to each other anyway otherwise they would have a morass of patents to deal with. Most other industries work like that (there are exceptions, like pharmaceuticals). The main point of the patents is to make life difficult for new entrants into a market. Money from patents tends to be more important to failed businesses as they no longer need the cross licensing agreements so can just focus on getting as much money from patents as they can.

This also does not change anything except that it gives people protection from being sued for patent breaches on patents owned by the members of OIN so long as they agree not to enforce their own patents against Linux based OSes, and only Linux based OSes.

OIN is very limited and exists mostly to counter patent threats like those historically from SCO and, more recently, Microsoft's (vague and unsubstantiated) claims to have patents that affect Linux.
12:01 pm on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Did some research, MS use to make a lot of money from Android device makers, but it may not still do.

Its a pretty high risk income stream though, and I think at this point MS has more to lose from patent trolls than it has to gain. Its already joined another anti-patent troll group: [cbronline.com...]
7:19 pm on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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9/10 lawyers are not happy right now
7:28 pm on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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9/10 lawyers are not happy right now
More good news! ;)
7:46 pm on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am not worried for lawyers, they'll still be fine, long after humanity will be extincted ...
10:40 am on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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> Owning patents for the purpose of preventing others to develop things,
For some that may be the case, but in most cases it's to protect the intellectual property that was developed, and achieve a return on investment.. Anyone can adopt it with a licence.
3:59 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In San Diego, down the street from me is Qualcomm. They are a multi billion dollar company and employ thousands. A true tech giant and they make absolutely nothing.

Over the years I've worked with many Qualcomm employees (in another capacity) and to my understanding, their products are basically patents.

One of their flagship patents is the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which is used in many (most?) mobile phones worldwide, but Qualcomm doesn't actually manufacturer them. They lease the patent to individual phone hardware manufacturers who produce, or have another party produce these chips to exact specs.

It's solely because of these patents that this company is so huge.
5:22 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sounds pretty smart to me- focus on your core abilities (chip design) and outsource the manufacturing to companies whose core ability is manufacturing. Especially when you're based in California, which has been pushing manufacturing jobs out of state for decades.
5:56 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Most tech companies have their manufacturing done in 3rd world countries where they can exploit lower wages & standards of living, example: Apple.

The standard of living is high in California so people want to live here. California's economy is the fifth-largest in the world, above the UK. The top 100 fastest growing tech companies in the world are in California. But it is very expensive to live well.
6:30 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Exactly! Why waste money paying high amounts for a "living wage" in an expensive state/country when you can pay a fraction of that somewhere else with a much cheaper standard of living? Especially when you are helping them out by creating opportunities/jobs that didn't previously exist. That's a win-win for everyone (except for those who insist in living in a high cost area).

For the same amount of money that we initially paid a local part-time writer/translator, we were able to work with over a dozen people in South America. And whereas the money didn't even cover the local person's rent, the payments we made to the overseas workers covered not only their rent, but most of the food costs for them and their families. If you want to use a volatile word like "exploit" that's fine by me. But I sleep well at night knowing that I helped feed over a dozen families each month from my "exploitation."

The top 100 fastest growing tech companies in the world are in California.
And how many of them manufacture locally?

As far as CA's standard of living, we have one of the highest poverty rates in the country when you factor in COL.
6:32 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I no longer see California as a "manufacturing" state at all. It never was much of one.
6:49 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It never was much of one.
California still has nationís largest manufacturing sector [sacbee.com]. And that's even after the loss of aerospace, autos, and other major manufacturing jobs over the past few decades.
7:08 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Probably because it's so big. There's likely a thriving wooden shoe industry I never see either.
3:17 pm on Oct 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It looks as though there is some doubt about whether the MS's most value patents (for file systems - particular exFat which is a de facto standard) are included, and even assuming they are, MS still gets the money from:

1. Existing deals - and all the big players have deals with MS
2. MS can still demand patent fees from anyone who does not sign an OIN license agreement
3. MS can still demand patent fees from anyone infringing these patents with anything other than a "Linux system".