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Google Makes Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge

It’s starting with 10 patents all relating to MapReduce, the computing model for processing large data sets

Google has made an Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge not to sue any user, distributor or developer of open source software over specified patents unless it's sued first.

It's starting with 10 patents all relating to MapReduce, the computing model for processing large data sets originally developed by Google and now widely used in open source versions.

It means to add other technologies in time.

Google's senior patent counsel Duane Valz blogged that "Our pledge builds on past efforts by companies like IBM and Red Hat and the work of the Open Invention Network (of which Google is a member). It also complements our efforts on cooperative licensing, where we're working with like-minded companies to develop patent agreements that would cut down on lawsuits. And, in addition to these industry-driven initiatives, we continue to support patent reforms that would improve patent quality and reduce excessive litigation."


Googler Chris Schalk was one of the earliest speakers at Cloud Expo, here pictured in 2009 with Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan

Offering the company's rationale, Valz said, "At Google we believe that open systems win. Open source software has been at the root of many innovations in cloud computing, the mobile web, and the Internet generally. And while open platforms have faced growing patent attacks, requiring companies to defensively acquire ever more patents, we remain committed to an open Internet - one that protects real innovation and continues to deliver great products and services....Google hopes that the OPN Pledge will serve as a model for the industry, and is encouraging other patent holders to adopt the pledge or a similar initiative. We believe it has a number of advantages:

  • Transparency. Patent holders determine exactly which patents and related technologies they wish to pledge, offering developers and the public transparency around patent rights.

  • Breadth. Protections under the OPN Pledge are not confined to a specific project or open source copyright license. (Google contributes a lot of code under such licenses, like the Apache or GNU GPL licenses, but their patent protections are limited.) The OPN Pledge, by contrast, applies to any open-source software - past, present or future - that might rely on the pledged patents.

  • Defensive protection. The Pledge may be terminated, but only if a party brings a patent suit against Google products or services, or is directly profiting from such litigation.

  • Durability. The Pledge remains in force for the life of the patents, even if we transfer them."

The pledged patents are:

Patent no. or publication no.

Title

Related technology

US 8,126,909

System and method for analyzing data records

MapReduce

US 7,756,919

Large-scale data processing in a distributed and parallel processing environment

MapReduce

US 7,650,331

System and method for efficient large-scale data processing

MapReduce

US 7,590,620

System and method for analyzing data records

MapReduce

US 2012/0278323

Joining tables in a MapReduce procedure

MapReduce

US 2012/0254193

Processing data in a MapReduce framework

MapReduce

US 2012/0215787

System and method for analyzing data records

MapReduce

US 2010/0122065

System and method for large-scale data processing using an application-independent framework

MapReduce

PCT/US2012/030941

Joining tables in a MapReduce procedure

MapReduce

PCT/US2012/030897

Processing data in a MapReduce environment

MapReduce


See www.google.com/patents/opnpledge/pledge/.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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