Thursday, October 25, 2018

Microsoft Joins the Open Invention Network: Announcement and Responses

What the Press Release Said

By joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), Microsoft is offering its entire patent portfolio to the open-source patent consortium’s members.

Open source changed everything. Customers have changed. Fifteen years ago, a CIO would have said, ‘we have no open source, they would have been wrong, but that’s what they thought.’ Now, CIOs know open source’s essential[…] Microsoft has always been a company by, of, and for developers. At this point in history, developers love open source

– Stephen Walli, Microsoft’s principal program manager for Azure

What’s happening now is that legal development and collaboration are catching up with technical development and collaboration. They’re now happening in parallel.

– Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO

What it means

The Open Invention Network (OIN) is a patent non-aggression community that supports freedom of action in Linux as a key element of open source software. OIN acquires patents and licenses them royalty-free to its community members who, in turn, agree not to assert their own patents against Linux and Linux-related systems and applications. (Wikipedia, emphasis mine)


  1. Does this mean that the patents were open sourced? (e.g. Patentleft)

    If you’re not an OIN member, you’re not covered by its patent-protection pool.

  2. Does this mean that the technology is open source? (following the four freedoms)?

    That’s not to say you can run out and build an exFAT-based file system for your USB-drive tomorrow with no consequences. Only OIN members have a non-aggression pact with Microsoft. If you’re not a member of the OIN, you still must license exFAT from Microsoft.

  3. Is this applicable to all of Microsoft’s patents?

    If your program isn’t open-source or falls outside the Linux System definition, you’re not covered.

  4. Is M$ going to make Winbloze open source? When pigs fly