The project aims to provide greater confidence for developers and customers of open source software.
OSDL, which is dedicated to accelerating the adoption of Linux, said that the patent commons library is a searchable database containing more than 500 patents and more than a dozen technical standards supported by patent pledges and covenants.
The library is freely available to developers, users and vendors, allowing them to quickly view information about patents and technology pledges benefiting open source software and standards.
"The OSDL Patent Commons Project is an important first step in helping customers, vendors and the development community understand the different commitments that have been made and how they work to reduce the chances of patent litigation," said OSDL chief executive Stuart Cohen.
"The Project is focused on documenting the growing number of pledges and other legal solutions directed at the software patent issue, so that developers can innovate and collaborate as free as possible from litigation."
According to OSDL the Patent Commons website has been set up to catalogue existing patent commitments from companies and individuals wishing to retain ownership of their patents, and will provide information about different types of pledges and covenants and how they work.
In the coming months, the site will expand to include other legal solutions that benefit the open source community, including open source licences, indemnification programmes and information for organisations and individuals who wish to contribute to the project.
"OSDL provides a natural point of entry to the Commons. We are confident that the project will serve the needs of developers and customers by providing fair, objective and easily accessible information about the burgeoning Commons," said Jim Stallings, vice president of intellectual property and standards at IBM.
David Patrick, vice president and general manager for Linux, open source platforms and services at Novell, added: "Customers want freedom of choice in making decisions about technology solutions.
"They should be able to make their purchase decisions based on technical merits, security, quality of service and value, not concerns over intellectual property ownership.
"The OSDL Patent Commons Project will provide greater confidence to developers and customers that the open source solutions they are deploying are safe from patent challenges."
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