Earlier this year, Google pledged not to sue open-source developers over 10 patents related to MapReduce. Today, the company isexpanding this pledge by adding 79 new patents to its Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge. These patents, Google says, cover software that is “used to efficiently operate data centers, including middleware, distributed storage management, distributed database management, and alarm monitoring.”
Google acquired these 79 patents from IBM and CA Technologies and include patents that were filed in the U.S., Europe and Asia. They include patents on things like a “method of creating and using notes decision capsules,” a “database table recovery system” and for a “service agent for fulfilling requests of a web browser.”
The company says that even though the pledge currently mostly covers back-end technologies, it’s also looking to add others that would be related to consumer-facing technologies because “open-source software is also transforming the development of consumer products that people use every day.”
As Google noted when it first announced its pledge, it hopes that this move will “serve as a model for the industry, and we’re encouraging other patent holders to adopt the pledge or a similar initiative.” Given the size of Google’s patent portfolio, having 89 patents that are covered by this pledge is obviously just a small gesture on Google’s part. However, it is part of an overall movement against patent trolls and other abuses of the patent system by large tech companies — though even they obviously continue to sue each other and patent trivial inventions.