Home Open Source Red Hat broadens patent pledge to most open-source software

Red Hat broadens patent pledge to most open-source software

Red Hat, the world's biggest open source company, has expanded its commitment on patents, which had originally been not to enforce its patents against free and open source software.

In a statement, the company said its original Patent Promise had stated that its patent portfolio was intended to to discourage patent aggression against free and open source software.

Under the expanded policy, the zone of non-enforcement has been expanded and now applies to "all of Red Hat’s patents, and all software licensed under well-recognised open source licences".

The original Patent Promise was issued in 2002. The new policy was said to be "substantially clearer and broader than its predecessor".

"While the old Promise covered approximately 35% of open source software, the new version will cover more than 99%".

Michael Cunningham, executive vice-president and general counsel, Red Hat, said: "Red Hat’s Patent Promise now covers the lion’s share of open source code and continues to cover all of our patents.

"We encourage others to make commitments like these. The innovation machine represented by the open source community is an enormous positive force for society.

"Our patent promise – we believe the broadest in the industry – is intended to support and nurture that community and force.”

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.