When it comes to protecting the intellectual property (IP) rights of Linux and open-source software, global leading banks aren’t the first to come to mind. Things are different now. Barclays, a global corporate and investment bank based in London, and the TD Bank Group, which has 26 million customers around the world, have joined the Open Invention Network, the largest open-source IP defence group (OIN).
The OIN has been protecting Linux from patent attacks and patent trolls for many years. It is the largest patent non-aggression consortium. The Linux System Definition was recently changed to include more than just the core Linux programmes and open-source code near them. In particular, this means that patents related to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) 10 and the Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) file system are now safe.
Why would banks, no matter how big, care about something as important as this? Because even banks want to stop patent assertion entities, or “patent trolls,” from abusing intellectual property rights. These days, patent trolls can even go after banks.
Patent trolls have been filing more and more lawsuits for patent infringement over the past few years. Changes in the law and the effects of the global pandemic on the economy seem to have made the patent troll threat even worse. If this problem isn’t fixed, companies’ resources will be taken away from innovation and spent on expensive defences against “patent trolls.”
Barclay is also joining the LOT Network, in addition to the OIN. This is another group of companies that works to stop patent trolls and is growing quickly. It is made up of more than 1,100 companies, and it covers more than 2 million patent assets.
Lee Braine, the managing director and chief technology officer of Barclays, said in a statement, “By fostering a culture of innovation across the financial services ecosystem, we can help protect our future and better serve our clients.” PAEs make false claims to take money and resources away from real innovation and collaboration. We also know that the use of open-source software requires a level playing field for technology development and innovation to be done in a modern way. With membership in LOT and OIN, we are happy to add to and grow the growing global community working together to stop the PAE threat and remove barriers to using open-source technologies.
Also getting it is TD, which was the first big bank in North America to join the OIN. TD wants to improve its operating platforms all the time, which means it uses open-source software. By joining OIN, TD shows its support for patent non-aggression in open-source software (OSS).
Josh Death, who is in charge of IP and patentable innovations at TD, added, “PAE activity in the banking industry continues to go up.” PAEs are now a tax on business, and we’re willing to look into any reasonable way to deal with these risks. We fully support efforts to limit the ways in which PAEs support their claims and charge operating companies a tax. OIN has done a great job of making the Linux environment a PAE freedom-to-operate zone that works well. “We’re happy to help OIN and its project.”
The simple truth is that all businesses now use Linux and open-source software. Anything that hurts them is bad for business for everyone. The CEO of OIN, Keith Bergelt, said this about banking in particular: “The financial services and fintech industries rely more and more on open source technologies to build and integrate platforms with lots of features.”