Red Hat has 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. The new version significantly expands and extends Red Hat’s promise, helping to protect the open innovation.
In its original Patent Promise, Red Hat explained that its patent portfolio was intended to discourage patent aggression against free and open source software. The expanded version published today 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.
The expanded Patent Promise, while consistent with Red Hat’s prior positions, breaks new ground in expanding the amount of software covered and otherwise clarifying the scope of the promise. Red Hat believes its updated Patent Promise represents the broadest commitment to protecting the open source software community to date.
“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,” explained Michael Cunningham, executive vice president and general counsel, Red Hat.