Florian Mueller, founder and former director of the NoSoftwarePatents campaign and the founder of the FOSS Patents Blog had this to say about the announcement:
"The Canonical announcement once again shows the absolutely unacceptable degree of intransparency with which the Open Invention Network operates. Both the press release and the OIN's website fail to specify what exactly the rights and obligations of OIN Associate Members -- as compared to mere licensees -- are. Also, there's no information concerning the criteria according to which a company is eligible to become an OIN Associate Member. Canonical is known for being a strategic partner of IBM, and since IBM is the most influential force behind the OIN, that's probably the reason why its membership status was upgraded."
"The OIN can't claim to pursue the protection of the Linux ecosystem as long as its non-assertion commitment relates only to an arbitrary definition of what the OIN calls 'the Linux System', which includes some but not all of the major applications that are usually shipped with major Linux distributions. The OIN reserves the right to redefine 'the Linux System' and therefore the scope of its license agreement anytime at its sole discretion, which is intransparent and arbitrary and raises serious questions. It seems to me that the OIN is basically a strategic patent troll, a non-practicing entity owned by a small group of companies that can use it for its purposes against their competitors whenever they elect to do so, and the protection of Linux is just a pretext."
"Some of the OIN's backers have a terrible background concerning software patents, such as IBM, and I have had to lobby against most of those companies in the past because they tried to convince lawmakers in Europe to strengthen the legal position of software patents over here."
"I'm not aware of even one case in which the OIN's patent pool served the purpose of protecting Linux. Organizations close to the OIN try to suggest that it was the case, but there's absolutely no evidence because otherwise there would have had to be an announcement that a company trying to assert patents against Linux or other open source software backed off and instead obtained a license to the OIN's patents. Not even one such case is known. Instead, patent infringements by companies building products based on Linux happen all the time, and even very strong and competent organizations such as Amazon and HTC feel forced to pay patent royalties for their use of Linux. If the OIN were as useful as its backers claim, those companies, too, could have chosen to be protected by the OIN."
OIN's Charter and Purpose Statement
Open Invention Network® is an intellectual property company that was formed to promote Linux by using patents to create a collaborative environment. It promotes a positive, fertile ecosystem for Linux, which in turns drives innovation and choice in the global marketplace. This helps ensure the continuation of innovation that has benefited software vendors, customers, emerging markets and investors.
Open Invention Network® is refining the intellectual property model so that important patents are openly shared in a collaborative environment. Patents owned by Open Invention Network® are available royalty-free to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System. This enables companies to make significant corporate and capital expenditure investments in Linux — helping to fuel economic growth.
Open Invention Network® ensures the openness of the Linux source code, so that programmers, equipment vendors, ISVs and institutions can invest in and use Linux with less worry about intellectual property issues. Its licensees can use the company’s patents to innovate freely. This makes it economically attractive for companies that want to repackage, embed and use Linux to host specialized services or create complementary products.
Open Invention Network® has considerable industry backing. It was launched in 2005, and has received investments from IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony.