Back in 2013, Google announced its plans to not sue anybody who had implemented open-source versions of its MapReduce algorithm. Since then, the company has expanded what it calls its “Open Patent Non-Assertion Pledge” to a number of other patents. Today it is announcing its largest expansion of this program to date, with the addition of 152 additional patents. This brings the total number of patents included in this program to 245.
Google made the initial non-assertion pledge at the height of the “patent wars” that had embroiled all the major tech companies. That situation seems to have cooled off a bit and the pledge always focused more on open-source software than anything else anyway. Under the pledge, Google commits that it will not sue the developers of open-source software who implement these patents.
Most of the patents that were previously covered by this pledge focused on back-end technologies. Google says today’s batch includes technologies related to encryption and prefetching. The largest number of patents included today, however, focuses on XML parsing and validation. In addition, Google is adding another five patents related to MapReduce.
It’s worth noting that Microsoft and other vendors have made similar pledges in the past. The 245 patents included in Google’s program are obviously only a very small part of the company’s overall patent portfolio, but it’s a start.