The Open Invention Network (OIN)is a shared defensive patent pool, with the specific goal of protecting open source and Linux. It’s currently backing by many commercial enterprises, including Google, IBM, Philips, RedHat, Sony, SUSE and Toyota.
OIN was founded due to a rise in software patent suits which were specifically targetted at open source. By becoming a member, all of the organization's licenses are available royalty-free. It currently offers protection to a range of companies which include some of the largest technology companies and individual developers.
Since its founding in 2005, OIN has been at the forefront of helping companies manage patent risks. In the years before the founding of OIN, many open source licenses explicitly covered only copyright interests and were silent about patents. OIN was designed to address this concern by creating a voluntary system of patent cross-licenses between member companies covering Linux System technologies. OIN has also been active in acquiring patents at times to help defend the community and to provide education and advice about the intersection of open source and intellectual property.