Bloomberg BNA’s Patent Trademark & Copyright Law Daily™is the IP industry’s premier news service, offering objective, timely,and reliable daily news coverage and commentary from leading IP law...
By Joseph Marks
July 13 — Toyota Motor Corp. is the newest board member of the patent non-aggression group supporting the open source Linux operating system, the group announced July 13.
Toyota is the first new member since Google Inc. joined the 11-year-old Open Invention Network’s six founding members in 2013. It’s also the first auto company on the board.
Board members fund OIN’s operations, which include buying Linux-related patents and defending Linux developers accused of infringement.
The network also passed 2,000 licensee members, according to a July 13 release. Those members have full access to OIN-owned patents in exchange for a pledge not to litigate over them but don’t fund network operations.
OIN owns over 1,100 global patents and patent applications and also has cross-licenses agreements for Linux-related patents with its members.
The basic credo of Linux and other open source projects is that software will develop faster and better if companies and individuals cooperate on its development, instead of competing. Companies that embrace Linux tend to wager that they can benefit from cooperation on the basic structure of software and then differentiate themselves with proprietary add-ons that aren’t Linux-based, Keith Bergelt, CEO of the Open Invention Network, told Bloomberg BNA.
Toyota’s decision to join the OIN board may be a watershed, spurring other auto companies to make the same wager, Bergelt said. If the connected car market relies more on open source tools, that could produce faster developments and lower costs for consumers, he said.
“They’re not focused on the low end of the stack. They’re focused on the high end, and that’s where innovation ought to be,” he said.
Toyota’s move comes as vehicles become increasingly reliant on connected technology, much of it based on Linux and cooperatively developed through the Automotive Grade Linux project. The project is managed by the Linux Foundation, which supports the open source tool. Toyota is a “platinum” level project member, along with Mazda Motor Corp., Panasonic Corp., Renesas Electronics Corp., and Denso Corp., a top supplier of automotive components.
Linux’s role in connected cars is now largely relegated to entertainment systems, but the open source software could ultimately manage “the digital DNA of vehicles,” Bergelt said, partly spurred by Toyota’s decision to join the OIN board.
“You get companies’ attention when open source technology becomes relevant,” he said. “Automotive Grade Linux is reaching a point of basic maturity where it’s now relevant. There’s a kind of inevitability about adoption.”
A similar development occurred among app developers working in Google’s Android operating system after Google became an OIN board member in 2013, he said.
Overall, the network has doubled its membership during the past 18 months.
OIN already counts numerous auto companies among its nonpaying licensee members, including Ford Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co., as well as several of those companies’ major suppliers.
Bergelt speculated that financial services and telecommunications may be the next industries that veer toward open source.
To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek at email@example.com
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)