Duane Valz, Senior Patent Counsel at Google:
Today, we’re taking another step towards that goal by announcing the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge: we pledge not to sue any user, distributor or developer of open-source software on specified patents, unless first attacked.
We’ve begun by identifying 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google—open-source versions of which are now widely used. Over time, we intend to expand the set of Google’s patents covered by the pledge to other technologies.
This would mean a lot more if Google were to freely release patents that were meaningful to their business, like targeted advertising or search.
Any way you cut this, it comes down to a simple question: how much do you trust Google not to sue you?