Here’s something we don’t see everyday: Google has pledged not to sue open source projects or its users if they make use of patents the company opens up to the public. Seems crazy, right? Well, it should come as no surprise that Google, like many businesses, rely on open source software in one way or another. The fact that open source software exists at all can even improve closed source software because at the end of the day, competition is competition.
With its “Open Patent Non-Assertion” (OPN) pledge, Google won’t sue “unless first attacked”. What does that mean, exactly? It means Google will play it cool while you use its patents, but if you dare to try fight against it using claims that it’s making use of something that resembles a patent you own, then the gloves are off.
This move by Google is definitely a good one, although we’ll see just how useful it is later, as the company begins to roll out more and more patents that it approves of you using. It’s the company’s hope that other companies will jump on board as well, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next little while.