Amazon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have joined the Open Invention Network (OIN) patent nonaggression consortium.
Founded in 2015, the OIN buys patents and then grants them royalty-free to its members, who have agreed not to enforce their own patents against Linux-based projects, within certain limits.
This can help combat an activity commonly known as "patent trolling," where people attempt to enforce their patents beyond their true legal rights, often in an effort to extort payments.
What role will Amazon play?
Amazon uses a variety of Linux-based software as part of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its retail business.
The move will see Amazon commit its entire patent portfolio to all patents that can be freely used within open source projects defined by the OIN.
Once the ISO agrees to protect the software, all members receive royalty-free community patent licenses to use that software.
Amazon says that adding its patents to the pool helps reduce the risk of patent assault for companies that innovate with open source.
Nithya Ruff, Director of Amazon's Open Source Program Office, said, "Linux and open source are critical to many of our customers and a key driver of innovation at Amazon."
We are proud to support a wide range of open source projects, foundations, and partners, and are committed to the long-term success and sustainability of open source as a whole.
They added: "By joining the OIN, we continue to strengthen open source communities and ensure that technologies like Linux continue to thrive and be accessible to all."
It's hard to say exactly why Amazon opted for the recent move, but it's certainly been supporting some open source initiatives of late.
For example, in May 2022, Amazon injected €10 million in announced funding (opens in a new tab) into the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), joining other Big Tech funders such as Alphabet.
Amazon is no stranger to patent litigation.
In October 2022 it was reported that the Chinese tech giant Huawei is currently suing Apple for unidentified patent infringement. (opens in a new tab)