[Bf-committers] Open Invention Network

Kent Mein mein at cs.umn.edu
Thu Oct 27 17:04:32 CEST 2011

In reply to Ton Roosendaal (ton at blender.org):

> From: Ton Roosendaal <ton at blender.org>
> To: bf-blender developers <bf-committers at blender.org>
> Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2011 11:13:28 +0200
> X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.936)
> Subject: [Bf-committers] Open Invention Network
> Reply-To: bf-blender developers <bf-committers at blender.org>
> Hi all,
> I've been contacted by this organization:
> http://www.openinventionnetwork.com
> With the request if Blender Foundation would join as a (free, no  
> costs) member. It's mainly meant as public endorsement from us for them.
> I don't have much time time to investigate their position in free/open  
> matters. Advice or crits therefore is welcome :)
> Thanks,
> -Ton-

Reading through their website kind of gave me the impression why would we
want to join this?  Seems like something we don't want to get into.

Looking at the comments about it on slashdot
I Really like the summary from this person, it's mid topic so it's a little
confusing but read on... :)

> Re:Trust them as far as you can throw them (Score:5, Informative)
> by icebike (68054) on Wednesday April 20 2011, @02:09PM (#35883508)
> > And how do we know that they're not simply joining up to see what others 
> > have there, to make it easier for them to win IP lawsuits?
> Most patent portfolios come with irrevocable commitments to allow any 
> patent they submit to the portfolio to be used freely forever.
> This one apparently DOES NOT have such a commitment.
> From their Agreement:
> 1.1 Subject to Section 1.2(b), OIN, grants to You and Your Subsidiaries a 
> royalty-free, worldwide, nonexclusive, non-transferable license under OIN 
> Patents to make, have made, use, import, and Distribute any products or 
> services. In addition to the foregoing and without limitation thereof, 
> with respect only to the Linux System, the license granted herein 
> includes the right to engage in activities that in the absence of this 
> Agreement would constitute inducement to infringe or contributory 
> infringement (or infringement under any other analogous legal doctrine 
> in the applicable jurisdiction).
> Sounds all laudable and such, BUT:
> There are still some worrisome features of this organization, such as the 
> fact that the FSF is NOT part of it, and they are really granting cross 
> licensing only to other members. Further, they have built a pretty 
> massive escape clause into their License Agreement 
> [openinventionnetwork.com] in Section 2.
> A careful read of their cross license agreement suggest this could turn 
> ugly after enough patents are in the system which also find their way into 
> Linux.
> The FAQ is here: http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/about_faq.php 
> The membership is here: http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/licensees.php 
> [openinventionnetwork.com] (just about every Distro you ever heard of is 
> represented).

So I'd say if we consider we should ask the FSF their take on it...
Otherwise skip it. At this point I think it would make us more of a target
than we currently are. :)

mein at cs.umn.edu

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