mnmlst notes a Wall Street Journal story (picked up at Total Telecom) on the move of some patents originally held by Microsoft to the Open Invention Network, where they will join a portfolio whose purpose is to inoculate open source companies against patent trolls. OIN is near a deal to buy 22 patents from another patent-protective group, Allied Security Trust, whose members include Verizon, Cisco, and HP. AST won the patents in a private auction Microsoft put on earlier. An AST executive says that "Microsoft presented the patents to potential bidders in its auction as relating to Linux." While OIN's acquisition of the patents will act to protect the Linux community, AST, by contrast, exists to protect only its corporate members, not the community as a whole. But by selling the patents to OIN, they are cooperating in the protection of Linux. And by allowing the patents to go to AST in the first place, Microsoft may (the article implies) be signaling at least their lack of active intent to disrupt the Linux marketplace.
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