Here’s an article that I think is worth reading. It details how the Open Invention Network (OIN) keeps open source software safe from patent threats. It also explains about patent troll companies and their financial motives. It sounds like it’s worthwhile for companies that rely on OSS to become affiliated with OIN.
Bergelt described Microsoft’s patent suit against TomTom as being a part of the software giant’s “totem strategy”. By getting various companies to settle patent suits over particular patents, Microsoft can erect (virtual) totem poles in Redmond, creating a “presumption of patent relevance”. According to Bergelt, Microsoft tends to attack those who try to create parity with it in some area, which TomTom did…. But, Microsoft was surprised to find that TomTom had allies in the form of OIN and others. Originally, Microsoft had asked for an “astronomical” sum to settle the suit, but after TomTom joined OIN and countersued Microsoft, the settlement number became much smaller.
OIN was started by six companies: Sony, IBM, NEC, Red Hat, Philips, and Novell.