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Google will not sue Open Sourcers

Unless it is sued itself

While Apple is abusing the broken US patent system to try to keep other people competing against its products, Google appears to be taking the moral high ground.

Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge where it says that it will not sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google.

The search engine said that it will expand the set of Google’s patents covered by the pledge to other technologies. Writing on the Google Bog, Duane Valz, Senior Patent Counsel said that the pledge builds on past efforts by companies like IBM and Red Hat and the work of the Open Invention Network.

It also complements Google’s efforts on cooperative licensing, where it is working with like-minded companies to develop patent agreements that would cut down on lawsuits. Google wants other patent holders to adopt similar approach to encourage innovation and development and healthy competition.

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