Google Announces Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge

Contrary to other companies, in the war game of patents which rages in the sector of high technologies, Google prefers to stand back. The American…


Contrary to other companies, in the war game of patents which rages in the sector of high technologies, Google prefers to stand back. The American company considers that the current situation is a disaster for all the industry and, consequently, does not want to seem too rigorous regarding intellectual property.

This does not mean that the firm of Mountain View refuses to defend its interests. When it is a question of responding to a complaint, Google is ready to go before the courts armed with its patent portfolio. But the group prefers to adopt a defensive posture: Google pleads for a reform of patent’s law and to end this arms race.

If Google thought in the past of showing itself more aggressive, the company may reconsider its decision: its patents will not serve to sue first a competitor, but to respond if a rival is looking for troubles. Not to appear as a threat, Google has just thrown in this new initiative, baptized Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge (OPNAP).

On its blog, the Californian company explains that Google engages to never pursue every user, distributor or software open-source developer on patents concerned by the initiative, unless the patent is sued first. In this case, Google will not hesitate to set in motion its Law Department and to counter-sue .

According to Google, the main key benefits of the OPN are the following ones:

- Patent holders determine exactly which patents (and related technologies) they wish to Pledge and offer the public transparency in the process.

- Allows for defensive termination relative to a broader range of incoming patent attacks.

- Non-assert promise and defensive use only terms designed to remain in force for the life of the patents, even if sold or transferred.

At the moment, the OPNAP program covers ten patents relative to the technology MapReduce, which is a simplified process concerning the treatment of wide volumes of data. Over time, Google promises that its initiative will inspire other companies and to lead the holders of patents to show themselves more moderate. "Open-source software has been at the root of many innovations in cloud computing, the mobile web, and the Internet generally," wrote Duane Valz, Google's senior patent counsel. "We remain committed to an open Internet — one that protects real innovation and continues to deliver great products and services."

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