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TomTom Sics Linux Defenders On Microsoft

Dutch GPS maker TomTom has joined the Open Invention Network as a licensee, in another bit of evidence that it plans to battle Microsoft in a legal dispute over alleged Linux patent infringement.


On Monday, TomTom said it has joined the ranks of licensees of the Open Invention Network, an organization dedicated to protecting Linux by acquiring and licensing open-source patents.

Formed in 2005 by IBM, Red Hat, Novell, Philips and Sony, the Open Invention Network seeks "to address problems that arise from patent trolls and industrial companies whose business models and behaviors are antagonistic to Linux and true innovation," according to a message on the organization's Web site.

"If your company is being victimized by any entity seeking to assert its patent portfolio against Linux, please contact us so that we can aid you in your battle with these dark forces," the Open Invention Network says on its Web site.

Microsoft sued TomTom last month for allegedly infringing on eight of its patents, three of which are related to TomTom's implementation of the Linux kernel. Last week, TomTom countersued Microsoft for alleged infringement on four of its navigation technology patents.

Open Invention Network obtains and makes its portfolio of 275 patents available to member companies on a royalty-free basis, with a goal of encouraging companies to increase their Linux investments.

"This makes it economically attractive for companies that want to repackage, embed and use Linux to host specialized services or create complementary products," the Open Invention Network said in a statement.

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