Nokia Corporation announced today that it allows all its patents to be used in the further development of the Linux Kernel. Nokia believes that open source software communities, like open standards, foster innovation and make an important contribution to the creation and rapid adaptation of technologies.
Unlike other open standards, however, many open source software projects rely only on copyright licenses that often do not clarify patent issues. Nokia believes that the investment made by so many individuals and companies in creating and developing the Linux Kernel and other open source software deserve a framework of certainty.
While Nokia welcomes the recent announcements in the industry where companies have stated express non-assertions with regard to some of their patents, it also believes that the situation would substantially improve, if more supporters of the Linux Kernel and other open source software would take a clear public position on this issue.
Nokia, therefore, issues the legally binding Patent Statement, which has been posted on its website at www.nokia.com/iprstatements . The Patent Statement applies to Nokia's patents infringed by current official releases of the Linux Kernel and all future official releases of the Linux Kernel to the extent that Nokia has not declared new functionality embodied in such releases to be outside the scope of the Patent Statement. With respect to new functionality introduced into future Linux Kernel releases, Nokia reserves the right to declare that the Patent Statement shall not apply.
Nokia intends to work with the open source community in identifying in advance those functionalities that Nokia would declare to be outside the Patent Statement. Nokia invites each patent holder to make similar statements with regard to the open source software projects it wants to support. While Nokia's Patent Statement is limited to official releases of the Linux Kernel only, Nokia intends to review whether similar statements can be made with respect to other open source projects in which Nokia is participating.
Nokia also believes that a party should not enjoy use of Nokia's patents and at the same time threaten the development of the Linux Kernel by assertion of its own patents. Therefore, Nokia's commitment shall not apply with regard to any party asserting its patents against any Linux Kernel.
By issuing the Patent Statement, Nokia wishes to encourage others to follow in order to foster the open development model and innovation for the benefit of developers and users alike.
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