Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Google Patents Android

Google Announces Android Cross-Licensing Program 'PAX' -- But Why? (consortiuminfo.org) 33

"Linux and open-source software have had to contend with intellectual property legal challenges for years," writes ZDNet. "Now, Google has started a new effort to bring peace to potential Android IP sore points: PAX... a royalty-free, community-patent cross-license." PAX is starting with nine members: Google, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, HTC, Foxconn Technology Group, Coolpad, BQ, HMD Global, and Allview. These companies own more than 230,000 global patents. PAX's purpose is to create a "community-driven [patent] clearinghouse, developed together with our Android partners, [that] ensures that innovation and consumer choice -- not patent threats -- will continue to be key drivers of our Android ecosystem. PAX is free to join and open to anyone."
Slashdot reader Andy Updegroved writes: The question is why? The announcement and the related website are extremely brief, and although everyone is invited to get a copy of the cross license, Google reserves the right to decide first whether your motives are pure and you can keep a secret. And so far, the only members of the "PAX Community" listed are existing Google business partners. Is Google aware of some new patent tempest brewing just over the horizon, about to burst into public view? And will any other company names and logos be added to the PAX Community Web page? We'll just have to stay tuned to find out.
Andy Updegrove tells ZDNet it does involve "formal cross-licenses between participants, and therefore enforceable rights, but not an infrastructure to do more (at least insofar as one can tell from the initial announcement)."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Announces Android Cross-Licensing Program 'PAX' -- But Why?

Comments Filter:
  • I thought Android used the Apache v2 License which already has a patent license in. So what's up?

    • Maybe google found out they're infringing a few patents and want to cya. Either by getting others who hold patents that could be used against the holders of the infringed patents to sign a cross-licensing deal, or some other scheme. Probably hoping to get some autonomous car developers to sign on.
  • M$ is making tons of cash from Android device manufacturers, with the help of a secret set of patents.
    May be Google is trying to bring together a set as big as M$ one ?

    Any whistleblower around to finally show us what M$ patents are ?

    • exFAT I bet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      With the ruling still out on the Oracle v Google case, I think this may be a precursor to the licensing terms that will be derived from Oracle's winning of that case, and thus the need for a patent covenant that might cover some piece of Oracle's software platforms (for anyone who hasn't noticed, SPARC is dead, Fujitsu is migrating to ARM for their next gen supercomputer, and Oracle already cut their engineering resources towards it.) and thus convince Oracle to join PAX, thus cross licensing their own pate

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by stephanruby ( 542433 )

      M$ is making tons of cash from Android device manufacturers, with the help of a secret set of patents.
      May be Google is trying to bring together a set as big as M$ one ?

      Yes, I believe that's it. Google is going after Microsoft's patent tax.

      By design, many Android developers can now port their Android applications to Windows phone [slashdot.org] without changing a line of code. The only thing that's missing [theregister.co.uk] is Google Play Services (if an app depends on those particular APIs), and even then, Microsoft is funding a replacement of Google Play Services, and in the meantime, power Windows phone users (the few that exist) are simply rooting their Windows devices and installing Google Play Servi

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      M$ is making tons of cash from Android device manufacturers, with the help of a secret set of patents.
      May be Google is trying to bring together a set as big as M$ one ?

      Any whistleblower around to finally show us what M$ patents are ?

      exFAT was one of them, vFAT was another.

      But the reason Microsoft doesn't want to go after Google is they can't - Google doesn't use any of that technology. The FAT patents aren't needed if you're not using FAT at all - hence the lack of an SD card support in the Nexus and Pixel

  • by Anonymous Coward

    GPL v3 would have done the same, but better job of keeping patents in line. Just saying.

    • If GPLv3 included a patent license for anything your company contributes, that would work okay for many companies. I could recommend contributing to GPLv3 projects if that were the case.

      However, as was pointed out when the the language of GPLv3 was being drafted, the actual text of the license is far broader than that, and arguably allows anyone to "steal" *any* patents owned by a company that contributes to a large project, including patents that have nothing to do with whatever the company contributed. S

      • Btw one way to reduce the patent risk is to allow employees to post code on their personal Github, registered under their personal email address rather than their @company.com address. The risk applies only to companies who make code publicly available - if individual employees don't have patents, they don't risk losing their patents. I did that at my last job. I personally had GPLv3 code on my personal Github, and was careful to avoid any mention of my employer when distributing GPLv3 code (I don't person

      • by MSG ( 12810 )

        > by simply doing a *pull* on Github, you're giving up patent rights

        I'm not sure what you mean by that. GPL only applies to distribution. You're not distributing code by downloading code from github (clone), and a contributor cannot change the license of your project by sending you a pull request.

        Maybe you mean forking? That would kind of amount to distributing code, but I think that would be a really hard case to make in court.

        • A pull *on* (public) Github, as opposed to *from* Github.

          Suppose you have a copy of the Linux kernel of your Github. You are distributing the kernel. When you pull from my Github to your Github, everyone else can then get the code from your Github - you're distributing whatever was pulled from mine - but you've never seen it. You're distributing code you've never seen.

          Suppose you work at Bosch working on in-car entertainment systems. You make some contributions to Android auto, and you do so via Github.

  • Gabe and Tycho could not be reached for comment

  • Proprietary companies that only love open source as long as it's used to save money (servers) or make money (steal code). They're just trying to get people to sign up for "free" except I'm sure you're incredibly limited on what you can do and I bet most of the license is geared towards finding cloud developers. This will destroy open source on the desktop, making it impossible to have any real freedom.

FORTRAN is the language of Powerful Computers. -- Steven Feiner