"The dangers of software patents for free software have always
been a hot issue. But with the news that Red Hat and Novell are
being sued for alleged patent infringement by IP Innovation, the
matter has moved from theory into practice. In fact, in the battle
against software patents, it turns out that the open source world
already has a rather powerful weapon in its armoury--even if it's
one that few people know about.
"The Open Invention Network (OIN) is a company set up in 2005
with investments from IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony.
It has a war-chest of tens of millions of dollars (it won't give an
exact figure) that enables it to buy software patents on the open
market for the defence of the GNU/Linux ecosystem, which it does in
a very novel way..."