TomTom teams with Linux defence group

TomTom has joined the Open Invention Network, an organisation formed to defend open-source companies against aggressive patent suits.

The OIN acquires patents and makes them available royalty-free to members, the idea being that if a company is sued over a Linux patent violation, it can rummage through this joint portfolio for something to strike back with.

The move immediately puts 275 patents, and pending patents, at TomTom's disposal.

The decision to join has no doubt been spurred by Microsoft's recent lawsuit concerning its implementation of certain aspects of the Linux kernel. The lawsuit is being seen by many Linux advocates as a shot across the bows, as the company moves to push numerous vendors into licensing deals.

"As we look to enable the Linux Ecosystem, we are pleased to have TomTom become a licensee," claimed OIN chief executive Keith Bergelt. "TomTom is one of a growing number of companies, of all sizes, that value the openness and collaborative culture of the Linux community. We applaud its support for Linux."

TomTom's director of intellectual property, Peter Spours, claimed the deal will help TomTom "encourage Linux development and foster innovation in a technical community that benefits everyone".

Click here to read our feature on TomTom and Microsoft's legal battle.