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This hit the wires this morning – the Open Invitation Network – Novell, Red Hat, Philips, Sony and IBM are funding this initiative.

From the website:

Open Invention Network (OIN), a company that has and will acquire patents and offer them royalty-free to promote Linux and spur innovation globally, was launched today with financial support from IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony. The company, believed to be the first of its kind, is creating a new model where patents are openly shared in a collaborative environment and used to facilitate the advancement of applications for, and components of, the Linux operating system.

There has already been coverage on Groklaw, NYT, CNN, Novell Open PR and probably others during the day.