Unfortunately, software patent suits are steadily rising, particularly in the past decade. While open source developers are committed to sharing their innovation with the community, they are by no means immune to those patent fights. This is why a collective defensive solution such as the Open Invention Network (OIN) is important.
OIN is a shared defensive patent pool with the mission to protect Linux. Launched in 2005, OIN has strong industry support with backing from Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony, SUSE, and Toyota - and now also Tutanota. "We are very pleased to have an end-to-end encrypted mail service such Tutanota join our network, particularly given the importance of privacy and freedom in today's world," says Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN. "By joining OIN, Tutanota evidences its commitment to open source technologies and the patent non-aggression environment facilitated by OIN and its participants."
In a time full of patent trolls, patent protection and non-aggression agreements are of huge importance, not only for a startup like ourselves, but for all companies. Just think about the patent about "automated out-of-office e-mail messages" recently granted to IBM, which was named 'Stupid Patent of the Month' by the EFF. While in this case IBM has announced not to charge anyone for using this patent, not all such cases are solved so easily. In today's development environment, companies need all the patent protection they can get.
In OIN all members grant each other free access to the Linux System patents they may hold. This way OIN protects its members from potential patent fights over the Linux System and guarantees the free and open development of the Linux environment.
OIN is a community of over 2,200 members from around the world who have invested in the creation and use of Linux and Open Source. To deter aggression and litigation, OIN has created an environment where patent aggression and litigation aimed at the Linux/Open Source ecosystem is unacceptable.
Currently the parent company of the secure mail service Tutanota (Tutao GmbH) can be found at number 2011 among all OIN Licensees. However, we at Tutanota are sure that this number will rise further as more and more companies will join this great organization. With the help of OIN, we as developers do not have to focus on patent issues of the whole Linux ecosystem. Instead we can focus on what is most important to us: Developing our open source end-to-end encrypted mail client.
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