Open Invention Network (OIN) and Unified Patents announced the successful development of the joint initiative of the Open Source Zone (OS Zone), created in 2019 after the patent aggression of Rothschild Patent Imaging against the GNOME project. Since then, OS Zone participants have managed to invalidate 53 patents specifically targeting open software, in addition to the one targeting GNOME developers.

Among the open projects whose interests have been protected and whose associated patents have been recognized as invalid are Apache Cocoon, Apache Mod_evasive, Argo, Bluez, Fail2Ban, Freemesh, Libremesh, Ifoldvlc, Linkerd, Linux, Automotive Linux, Kubernetes, KVM, Magento, Mastodon, Firefox, Mycroft, Openach, Openswan, Qemu, and Webm.

The main sponsors of the OS Zone project, namely Linux Foundation and Microsoft, have been joined by Amazon, Apple, Cablelabs, Mercedes-Benz, Meta, ServicalNow, and Twilio this year, who aim to further strengthen the project’s efforts to combat the recognition of dubious patents used by patent trolls in attacks on open software-related companies and organizations.

The primary goal of the OS Zone project is to protect open software from patent trolls who do not engage in development or production activities and rely solely on asserting claims based on questionable patents. The project includes a group dedicated to uncovering evidence of prior technology usage relevant to lawsuits involving Linux and open software. The project also offers rewards to individuals who identify instances of prior technology use covered by patented technologies.

Confronting patent trolls is challenging as they only hold intellectual property rights without engaging in actual product development. This makes it difficult to counter their claims with evidence of patent misuse in products, leaving the only option to challenge the validity of the patents being used in the lawsuits.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.