Could times truly be changing in regards to the patent and lawsuit game and situation we’ve seen in technology lately? Google‘s latest move and pledge at least makes us hopeful. The companies unofficial motto is “Don’t be evil” and today that slogan lives on as they’ve announced their Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. So what is that?
As we all know, Google believes that an open system will in the end win – and we’re seeing that with Android. To show just how much they mean this Google has publicly pledged to never sue anyone with their array of patents, unless being attacked first. Their words were they would “not sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked.”
Interestingly they added that “unless first attacked” in there. Meaning that they’ll play nice until someone else decides not to. If a company or developer is using a patent later decided to attack Google on something completely different, they’ll then open up their can of patents and go to town. Basically saying can’t we all get along? And if not, well lets do this.
This is Google’s latest effort to back open-sourced projects and software, which Google states is a driving and innovating force in the mobile and internet-connected world we live in. Google also detailed 10 patents that are already being widely used called MapReduce-related patents, and put that forward as an initial 10 patents they’ll offer everyone in this new OPN. We have a feeling they’ll have to open up a lot more patents than 10 to make any major difference, but this is a start.
In the end hopefully this will remove the worry of lawsuits for many, and in return stir innovation across the board.