Canonical, the commercial sponsor behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, has become the latest vendor to sign up to the Open Invention Network’s patent licensing scheme, and has also joined the advisory board for the Gnome Foundation.
The company has become an OIN licensee, gaining access to the 100 patents and patent applications stockpiled by the group since it was formed by IBM, Red Hat, Novell, Sony, and Philips in late 2005 to protect Linux and other open source projects against patent infringement claims.
The OIN patents are licensed on a royalty-free basis in return for promises not to assert patent claims against Linux, and have already attracted database and applications giant Oracle as a licensee.
In a statement, Canonical said it had signed up to the OIN so that it could focus its energy on innovative development, rather than potential intellectual property issues.
The company also announced on Wednesday that it has joined the advisory board of the Gnome Foundation, which governs the development of the Gnome Linux user interface.
The company’s director of operations, Jane Silber, will serve on the board, with Canonical joining the likes of Red Hat, Sun, IBM, Novell, Hewlett-Packard, and Debian as a sponsor.