Google has announced a new initiative today that might, if we're lucky, slowly lead to some meaningful changes in how patent litigation is approached. Or, alternatively, make it easier to highlight the jerks who are ruining it for everyone. The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge gives would-be inventors a pool of patents that Google promises to never sue anyone over, "unless first attacked." That last part is where eyebrows go up, though.
First, some context: there are 10 patents in the mix, which already isn't a lot. The company says more will be added over time. For these ten patents, Google is ensuring that any company, group, or developer working on open source software may use the technology without worry of being sued by the search giant.