Yesterday IBM announced it will create a “patent commons” for intellectual property owners to submit their patents to open source developers. IBM will kickstart the process by pledging 500 software patents, allowing open source developers to use the technologies without fear of legal action.
As long as developers stick to the rules of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and use one of 50 OSI-certified licenses, they are welcome to continue to develop open source software based on these technologies.
“Continuing IBM’s legacy of leadership in the strategic use of intellectual property, our pledge today is the beginning of a new era in how IBM will manage intellectual property to benefit our partners and clients,” said John Kelly (IBM senior VP of technology and intellectual property). “Unlike the preceding Industrial Economy, the Innovation Economy requires that intellectual property be deployed for more than just providing the owner with freedom of action and income generation.”
Developers agree that while IP ownership is essential, technical innovation and development requires shared knowledge and standards.