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Keith Bergelt, CEO, Open Invention Network (OIN), the world's largest patent non-aggression community, talks to Joe C. Mathew about Linux-based technology cooperation and its signifi cance for India.

How does OIN work?

OIN is designed to be inclusive for every country and company around the world. It provides a protective cover to all participants from an intellectual property (IP) standpoint. OIN members sharing the core functionality of Linux-based open source inventions cannot sue each other. Even if someone from outside the community does, we provide support to the members.

Apart from Reliance and Infosys, not many well-known Indian companies are part of OIN...

Community participation is linked to the level of open source project participation undertaken by the companies. Indian companies are lagging dramatically in their participation in global open source projects. The perception is that they are only using open source technology to develop solutions for their customers. With the emergence of technologies like blockchain and open source mobile solutions, it's time for India to step up engagement. We have almost 150 members and expect major players in the carrier space, banking community, fintech and insurance to join us in six to 10 years.

How can the government help?

The government should make IP policies looking at the patentability of subject matter. Today, 75 per cent software patents in India are by foreign companies. You need to have local companies filing patents and protecting their markets and not allow foreign companies to have patents and hold your companies to hostage. A national policy that promotes that culture is important.

What role will OIN play here?

We want to take the idea of defensive publication ahead. We will work with companies and higher education institutions like IITs and others to train and educate individuals on how to utilise defensive publications to support newer ideas and protect Indian inventions. The idea is to prevent poor quality patents from being issued and, thereby, raise the bar on patent quality.