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WSJ reports OIN to acquire former SGI patents (via Microsoft)Matthew Aslett, September 8, 2009 @ 4:53 am ET
An interesting story in today’s Wall Street Journal states that the Open Invention Network is “nearing an agreement to acquire 22 patents that Microsoft sold to another organization earlier this year” that could be used to protect Linux from patent attacks.
If true it won’t be the first time the OIN has acquired patents in the name of protecting Linux: it was formed for that purpose and it previously did so in 2006, and also last month launched its Distinguished Inventors Patent Acquisition program to acquire patents from individual inventors.
The fact that these patents were previously owned by Microsoft adds a twist to the tale, however. The WSJ cites Dave Kaefer, general manager for intellectual-property licensing at Microsoft, as saying that the patents were acquired from Silicon Graphics and were sold because they weren’t strategic to the company.
Meanwhile it also cites Keith Bergelt, chief executive officer of OIN, as saying that Microsoft presented the patents to potential bidders in its auction as relating to Linux. The patents were apparently acquired by Allied Security Trust, which is selling them on to OIN.
So what might the patents relate to? Those of us with long memories will recall that in 2002 it was reported that SGI had sold much of its 3D graphics patents portfolio to Microsoft – a deal that was later confirmed by SGI.
We await formal confirmation with interest
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