Red Hat expands open source patent promise

Red Hat, which distributes the open source computer system known as Linux, announced a significant revision of its Patent Promise.

“That promise, originating in 2002, was based on Red Hat’s intention not to enforce its patents against free and open source software,” said Red Hat.

“The new version significantly expands and extends Red Hat’s promise, helping to protect open innovation.”

Red Hat said that in its original Patent Promise, it explained that its patent portfolio was intended to discourage patent aggression against free and open source software.

It said the expanded version reaffirms this intention and extends the zone of non-enforcement.

It applies to all of Red Hat’s patents, and all software licensed under well-recognized open source licenses.

Red Hat general counsel Michael Cunningham said: “Red Hat’s Patent Promise now covers the lion’s share of open source code and continues to cover all of our patents.

“We encourage others to make commitments like these.

“The innovation machine represented by the open source community is an enormous positive force for society.

“Our patent promise — we believe the broadest in the industry — is intended to support and nurture that community and force.”