IBM has opened up its entire patent portfolio for the development and implementation of selected open healthcare and education software standards.
The pledge means that Big Blue will not enforce its patents or charge a licence fee if any of the covered technologies in this sector infringe upon the patents.
The company expects the initiative to stimulate the creation of interoperable standards that allow for information sharing through standardised medical records and educational resources.
IBM has extended its patent pledge to 20 specific working groups or technical committees in six standards organisations.
"If these designated groups build their next generation of healthcare and education standards on web services, electronic forms and open document standards, and they do so within rules on maintaining compatibility and interoperability, IBM will not assert any of its patents on implementers of these new healthcare and education standards," said Bob Sutor, IBM's vice president of standards and open source.
Software patents are considered a major threat to open source projects. If a project infringes on a patent, the owner could take legal action against the developers and users of the application.
By putting its patent weight behind a number of open source software applications, IBM further expands it open source patent push. The vendor early this year pledged 500 of its patents towards open source projects.
This week's addition to IBM's earlier pledge goes further in that the vendor has now offered its full patent portfolio instead of just a limited number.
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