Google Open Patent scheme adds 79 more; Consumer IP incoming

Google has added 79 more patents to its Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge, the commitment the company made to shield open-source software projects using select technologies Google holds the IP to. The new additions "cover software used to efficiently operate data centers, including middleware, distributed storage management, distributed database management, and alarm monitoring" Google says, and were acquired by the search giant from IBM and CA Technologies.

Google announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge earlier this year, as a way to encourage open-source projects without selling on any of its actual IP. It's not just Google that supports the scheme; IBM, Cloudera, and OIN have all pledged their support, and the company is hoping more will follow.

As Google sees it, over-aggressive patent litigation – of the sort which has seen Android device manufacturers like Samsung and HTC pulled into expensive legal battles in recent years – is one of the key challenges to new developments, and the OPN can go some way to addressing that. "The goal of the patent system is to foster innovation, and we aim to use patents, whether acquired or developed internally, in support of that goal" Duane Valz, Senior Patent Counsel at Google, said today.

The total number of patents under the Pledge is still less than 100, however, and the patents themselves won't make much of a difference, if any, to high-profile cases of Android infringement litigation.

Meanwhile, the Pledge site itself has also been updated, with Google saying that it now should be easier to navigate through.

While the majority of the patented technologies Google has released for open-source use under the OPN Pledge have been for server-side technology, Valz says that's not always going to be the case. "Open-source software is also transforming the development of consumer products that people use every day" he pointed out, "so stay tuned for additional extensions to patents covering those sorts of technologies."