Tuesday, November 15, 2005

PATENT COMMONS: OPEN FOR BUSINESS - Open Source Development Labs Inc. (OSDL) has launched its online patent commons reference library today. The library, which consists of five interlinked databases, is intended to give users a searchable database to boost confidence in using open-source software in light of the possibility of patent litigation.

The free library contains information about patents and technology pledges. It details patent commitments from companies and individuals who wish to retain ownership of their patents, but pledge either not to assert particular patents or not to assert patents against software implementations based on specific technical standards.

Users can search via the names of the contributors that have given patent pledges and covenants (i.e., CA, IBM, Intel Corp., Novell Inc., Red Hat Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.) Formerly known as Computer Associates International Inc., CA announced that it's changing its name on Sunday.

A second database provides searching for commitment types as indicated by different symbols, whether they're open-source software patents or open standards. A third database allows searching on the patents themselves, and a fourth database provides searching on standards and technologies such as the Linux kernel, OpenDocument and a number of Web services. The final database, which may not be ready today, enables users to search on other legal solutions such as open-source licenses and indemnification programs

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