Google is deepening its involvement in protecting open-source software through the Open Invention Network (OIN).

The company announced today it will be joining IBM, NEC, Novel, Philips, Red Hat and Sony as a full member of the OIN. The OIN is an organization, formed in 2005, that aims to protect the open-source community through patent cross-licenses for open-source software projects, specifically Linux.

A cross-license agreement is a contract between two or more parties allowing each party rights to intellectual property included in the agreement. For example, in 2008, Microsoft agreed to cross-licensed patents with JVC. The exact details of the patents were not disclosed, but according to Microsoft IP chief Horacio Gutierrez, the collaboration between technological leaders through intellectual property licensing allows for greater innovations that benefit customers, consumers and the IT ecosystem.

“Linux is one of the most innovative platforms ever invented. It has helped to spark unprecedented levels of mobile, networking, and computing capabilities while dramatically lowering costs,” said Keith Bergelt, OIN’s CEO.

(More on patent issues: Oracle revives claim that Google’s API uses violated patents)

Google has supported the OIN in the past; in 2007, it became OIN’s first end-user licensee, more recently as an associate member, and now as a full member of the board.  

About Christina Mulligan

Christina is the Online & Social Media Editor of SD Times. She is a 2012 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a concentration in public affairs. She has interned at WNET Metrofocus, WABC Eyewitness News and Newsday.